Hey everyone! I should be working on The Adventures of Natalia Warden and Hal Talon (I seriously need a shorter name.) But last night, I couldn't sleep. I had just read Keep Holding On, and thought, I love stories to songs. But I also wanted to make a tragedy sort of story. Of course, I hate hate hate the ending, but I had to add it. :D

So, anyway, I spent the day analyzing this story, writing ideas, and brainstorming. Once I got home and finished all of my daily crap, I started typing this story. This is sort of based off of Kelly Clarkson's Because of You (ft. Reba McEntire), but it's more like a, 'Because of You...blah blah blah.' And that term, in this story and in my opinion, is over-used.

Oh, and I thought I would add this. It's a funny little moment that happened. We have a 2-hour class at the end of each Monday. It's Computer Tech. (I love our teacher, I mean, he's in his own musical group and he's a professional photographer. Also, his daughter is in our class and she's one of those people who's just lovable.) and I had finished my assignment and had maybe half an hour left. Thankfully I had my note-book with this story in it and I tried writing. There's a depressing scene in here, I guess you could say, and I was writing it during this class. I was actually like really upset. And to make things even funnier, my teacher played us songs from his CD and one of them described the scene perfectly and I almost broke down right then and there.

Oh the joys of Computer Tech. :D And Math. I get all my ideas from those classes when I really should be paying attention.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAD VIDEO SUGGESTIONS; I am planning on doing them very soon. I listened to Fix You and I have an idea. And then there's the other Maltara video and I did start it, but I'm not quite finished.

ALSO, I am starting to get into the week of filming! Yay! This week is when everything hectic dies down and we finally get to sit back and relax for a couple of weeks. Then, for those who don't know, I asked my Mal actor when he and his brother were free and they're free every Saturday. Things are working out perfectly. My only concerns are the camera I will be using to film and editing. Do any of you have any filming camera tips and what I should use? I have a normal camera that takes like twenty-five minute vids, but it wouldn't work because my laptop does not have an SD drive. (Which confused me.) And my friend was just thinking of using her Flip. Right now, I have $30 in budget and I'm spending maybe $25 of that on a mask for the Maskmaker and a lab coat for Dr. Rose and Eric Mills. And any other film-making tips would be awesome!

I'm guessing you probably want to read now. Here you guys go; Because of You


Because of You

Their day wasn't supposed to end like this.

Earlier on this so called, fateful day, Mal Fallon and his partner, Natara Williams sat in the precinct, looking through files of the latest arson. Over the past month, house-fires, school-fires, and so much more had popped up all over San Francisco. Police suspected foul-play. As the weeks went on and the fires had started claiming lives, people began to worry. This wasn't normal.

Natara glanced at Mal for what seemed like the twentieth time. She didn't know what it was, but he was just acting strange. When Mal finally caught her glance, she blushed and looked away while Mal smiled in amusement.

"What?" he asked.

"N-nothing," Natara replied, scribbling mindlessly on a notebook. "It's just...you seem awfully quiet today."

Mal smiled and set the file down. "Well, counting that you were on my case yesterday about being too noisy, I guess I decided to satisfy your needs."

"Well, turns out, I don't like the silence," Natara said, copying his pleased smile.

"What are you; bi-polar? Seriously! Last week you were chewing me out for parking the 'wrong' way. The day after that, you decided that you suddenly liked the way I parked and don't even get me started on the Coffee Breaks."

Natara smiled. "I like to change every once in a while."

"More like every day."

They shared one of those, 'in-the-moment' smiles before getting back to work.

Now, at the SFPD, it was usual for the smoke alarms to go off at random intervals during the day. Why? Kai. Whether it was mixing dangerous chemicals or accidentally leaving something on, there was always an out-burst of smoke and sometimes, a small fire. Within five minutes, though, it was taken care of by Kai's partner, Amy Chen. So when the smoke alarms blared throughout the building, no one followed the escape plan. They had already assumed it was another one of Kai's doings.

"I swear, if the fire-department fines us again," Mal muttered and Natara smiled.

"Kai's just...experimental."

"Notice that the word mental is attatched."

"Mal..."

"I'm not apologizing."

It wasn't until five minutes later that Mal realized that there was something horribly wrong. Why didn't the smoke detectors shut off? He sniffed the air and confirmed his suspicions.

"Smoke," he muttered, "it's still coming strong. Think we should go check on the Lab Geeks?"

"It might be a good idea," Natara replied and they ventured down the stairs. However, they stopped halfway as Mal and Natara coughed. Smoke hung heavily in the air and an orange light flickered. When they continued to the bottom, they noticed that their technicians weren't working on putting the fire out. No. In fact, they were both unconscious and on the ground. Judging by the large bumps on both of their heads, Mal decided that this was not accidental.

"Oh my..." Natara said and ran over to aid the scientists. Mal tried to stop her, keeping his eyes on the gradually growing flames.

"Natara, try to find the fire-extinguisher. We should put this out before..."

"We can't do that now. Let's just get Amy and Kai out of here and evacuate the building. It'll be safer and we can have the experts handle this."

"You think this could be his doing...the fire guy's?"

Natara tried to pick up Amy as best as she could. "It's a good chance. Now let's hurry."

Mal picked up Kai the firemen style and they rushed out of the lab. The other officers looked at them nervously and Mal nodded towards Maria.

"Evacuate the building and call the fire-department," he called as they pushed through the entrance and set Amy and Kai on the grass. Natara did all the first-aid she could do and Mal sat next to her on the grass.

"This is crazy! Why would he strike here? Doesn't he know that we're police officers?" Mal asked.

"Well, police officers without their equipment are useless, right?" Natara replied. "If you don't have your badge, your gun, your car, any of that good stuff, it would be easier for criminals to strike."

"So they tore away the base," Mal muttered and picked unconsciously at the grass. "That's just low."

"Well, you need to aim low to destroy the base," Natara said and Mal smiled.

Over the course of a few minutes, the whole station was evacuated. At least, that's what Maria thought as she called for everyone's response.

"Anna Willis?"

"Here!"

"Ken Greene?"

"Here!"

"Mal Fallon."

"Here."

"Natara Williams?"

"Of course!"

"Rick Blackwell."

Silence.

Maria called his name several times and cursed. "I saw him come in today! He must be in the building."

Mal looked up at the captain and frowned slightly. Natara caught onto what he was doing.

"No!" she said loudly.

Mal faced her, confusion apparent in his face. "What?"

"You are not going in there to save Detective Blackwell!"

Mal shook his head, despite the fact that he was creeped out about how she knew. "I can't just let a fellow-worker die. And you can't really stop me."

"You could die, Mal!"

"That's a sacrifice officers have to take," Mal whispered and took a step closer to Natara. "I'll be back before you know it, alright?" Her cheeks burned as he spun on his heel and bolted into the burning building, something all police officers like Mal would do.

Mal called out for the lost detective. "Rick! Rick! Are you in here, buddy?"

No response.

"Come on!" Mal growled, covering his mouth as he lowered himself onto the floor. "If I make it out of this, you're so dead."

The heat was intense, but Mal didn't mind it. He pushed his way through obstacles containing of desks, paperwork, chairs, etc...

Maria marched up to Natara. "Where in the world is Mal?" she asked harshly.

"Mal? Oh..." Natara hesitated, weighing if she should tell Maria or not. Finally, she nodded. "He went in to find Detective Blackwell."

Maria's jaw clenched. "You have got to be kidding me," she hissed. "Dang it, Mal! Why didn't you try to stop him?"

Natara blushed once more, remembering how close he had gotten. She didn't stop him because she couldn't think straight. She never thought straight anymore. How could she with a partner like Mal?

"I...I tried," she responded. "But there's no convincing Mal."

"Oh yes there is," Maria growled. "The fire-department is almost here and you let my best detective wander into a burning building? Do you know how dangerous it is in there? Poisons leaking from every crack, smoke penetrating the lungs..."

Natara hadn't thought about it, yet she knew this. She curse herself and looked towards the building. "We need to get Mal out of there!"

"As much as I like Detective Fallon, I am not putting the lives of my other detectives in danger. The fire-department will get him out of there soon."

Natara shook her head. "Soon isn't fast enough."

Mal tried to steady himself against a wall, but it was hot to the touch. He kept low to the ground, though. He cursed every step because it started to hurt. Everything did. At one point, his jacket caught fire and he had to rip it off, making him completely vulnerable to everything else around him.

"I have a feeling you're not even here," Mal hissed. "Dang it! I'm going to die because of you, Blackwell. Because of you, I will never see Natara again. Because of you, I will never tell her how I really feel. Because of you, my life is gone."

Amy had woken up shortly after. She stumbled up to Natara as she held an icepack to her throbbing head. She didn't know about Mal.

"Hey Natara. Where's Mal?" she asked.

Natara looked at the ground, almost as if she were close to tears. "He...he went inside to save Blackwell."

Amy's eyes widened in horror. "B-Blackwell? Oh no...this is not good; not good at all!"

"What's wrong?" Natara asked, fearing the answer. Was Blackwell already out here? Did Mal go in there for nothing? The sirens coming closer did not comfort her.

"Natara...Detective Blackwell was the one who knocked Kai and I out. He's the one that started the fire."

Mal had given up on searching and just collapsed onto the ground, smoke burning his eyes. He tried to stop the smoke from entering his lungs, but it was too hard. He was getting weaker and weaker.

"Come on, Mal," he muttered to himself. "You have to get out of here. Just...just think of Nat..."

"Detective Fallon!" a voice called. It must have been a firefighter. Who else would have just stormed into a burning building.

Mal coughed in reply. He couldn't shout. But he tried talking. "I...I'm here!"

"Mal Fallon! Where are you? Reply if you can hear us!"

Mal lost hope. "They can't hear me," he whispered. "This really is it."

"Where are they?" Natara demanded. "They should have come out by now!"

"They've only been in there for a few minutes," Kai informed. "Special Agent, maybe it's best if you sit down with Amy..."

"I can't just relax when I know my partner...my best friend is at the risk of dying because he was trying to save someone!" Natara shouted. A few eyes fell on her.

"Natara, we all know Mal will be alright," Amy said quietly. "He's Mal, and Mal can do anything."

Natara sighed heavily and sat on the grass. "I really hope you're right," she whispered into her hands.

Deficiency. Heat. Dying. Mal felt it all. He was tired and sick to the stomach. He would have already quit if it wasn't for Natara. He needed to see her one more time. Just one.

He drifted in and out of unconsciousness. He almost didn't hear the firefighter approach.

"He's here! He's alive!" one called.

Mal couldn't believe it. One second, he thought he was dying, and in the next, he was safe...at least, for a moment.

"Natara!" Amy called. "It's Mal!"

Natara looked up and gasped. "Mal!" she called out and instantly ran towards him. He was being carried by a firefighter, a sight Natara didn't like. The chief of the firefighter's looked towards Natara and called out,

"I'm sorry, miss, but we need..."

"That's my best friend!" Natara shouted. "I need to be with him!"

The fireman shared a glance with Captain Yeong, who nodded. He then sighed and continued walking. "Follow me," he instructed.

The drive to the hospital was too long for Natara's liking. She held Mal's hand the whole way as he came to and passed out again and again. He didn't look too good. The hand that Natara wasn't holding was covered in blisters. His face was also burnt pretty bad as well.

"We found him on the ground," the EMT explained to Natara. "He's got second degree burns probably over 85% of his body. He has also inhaled a lot of smoke. Usually, that's never a good sign."

"I...I know," Natara said and looked at her partner. Why was it that whenever he tried to be a good person, it always bit him back! He tried to save Blackwell's life...but he turned out to be a criminal. Why wasn't it her going through this pain? Why wasn't he the one holding her hand and telling her things would be okay? She had so many questions.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Mal and Natara were separated. She quietly sat in the waiting room, almost crying. She had to be strong though. There were younger kids holding onto their mothers or fathers. A person breaking down in the waiting room was never a reassuring sign.

Slowly, the SFPD began to join Natara. They whispered amongst themselves nervously. Some of them didn't know Mal that well, but they knew Natara. They knew how hard this was for her. Because let's admit it, almost everyone knew the Mal liked Natara and possibly vice versa!

It took an hour before a doctor entered the room.

"Is Natara Williams here?" he asked.

Natara stood up and nodded. "Yes?"

"Mal is awake right now. He wanted to talk to you first," he informed with a short nod. "Follow me."

She obeyed orders quickly. As soon as she entered the room, Mal's face lit up. He looked horrible though. She didn't understand how happy he could be.

"Hey," she greeted as soon as the doctor left.

"Come sit over here," Mal urged. She cautiously took a seat next to Mal and he looked up at the ceiling, that goofy smile still on his face.

"Shouldn't you be on oxygen or something?" Natara asked.

"Not right now," Mal said, "right now, I have to talk to you."

She didn't like the tone of his voice. It was filled with a kind concern.

"Mal..."

"Natara, hear me out," Mal continued. "When I was in the building, about to give up, I knew I couldn't. You want to know why?"

"I have a feeling this has something to do with me," Natara whispered.

"Doesn't it always," Mal said with a smile. "Anyway, as I laid there, I thought, you know, this is it. I will never get to see Natara again..."

"What about everyone else?" Natara asked.

"I knew everyone could handle themselves without me to guide them. It was you I was really worried about. I mean, come on, I saw you in the ambulance. You were an emotional wreck."

Natara blushed heavily. "So..."

"What I'm trying to say is...I knew that if I, um, died out there, I would have hurt you. Hurting you is something I can never live with."

"Mal...please..."

"Natara, listen," Mal said, and he rested his hand on top of hers. "The outlook isn't good, I know that. I know that this night may as well be my last. And out of everyone in the precinct, I want to spend it with you."

Natara covered her eyes. "Mal, please don't say that!"

"We both know it's true..."

"I know...I just don't want to believe it!"

"Nat, come here," Mal said, and he outstretched his arms partially. She didn't hesitate. He pulled her into a tight embrace, whispering reassuring things into her ear.

"You're a strong, brave, talented woman, Natara. You're smart in every way and you're caring towards others."

She started to cry. Why did Mal have to do this?

"I always thought, from the day I first saw you, that you were different. You weren't like other girls. It's because you proved to be so much more. Nat, you're my best friend...and the love of my life."

"Why are you telling me this now," Natara sobbed. "Why?"

"Because I think it's important that you know how I truly feel about you."

Natara didn't respond for awhile as she hugged Mal. She let the tears fall down her face. It stayed like this for five minutes before she replied.

"M-Mal," she began, "you're much more than my best friend. When Oscar broke up with me...I...I didn't feel like I could trust anyone again. When we spent those few days undercover, I...I don't know what I felt, but I knew that you were much more than just a friend."

"I love you so much, Nat. Because of you, I learned to trust better."

"I..." she couldn't respond. He was dying! This was the only moment she really ever allowed him to spill his guts. She hated herself. She hated Rick Blackwell for taking away Mal.

"I am so sorry," Mal whispered. "I wish there was so much more I could do."

"I wish today never happened," Natara whispered. "Even though it would mean taking away this moment, we would have it again some day."

When the doctor instructed Natara to leave, she couldn't. But Mal urged her not to cause a scene. Before she left, though, Mal kissed her cheek. He whispered his 'I-Love-You's' several more times.

Later that night, Mal's lungs collapsed. He died at around 2:50 AM. Natara's heart shattered. Everything seemed to be falling down. She refused to leave her house and refused to have any contact with anyone that wasn't Neha.

((A/N: OK, just writing this made me depressed so I had to add this. I know, send all the flames you want. I just don't like it when Mal or Natara die! :'( And I know how cheesy it is, so flames about that is accepted too.))

Natara gasped and sat up straight in bed. A small cry rang across the room. Next to her, rested her husband, Mal. Everything in her dream had happened before, besides Mal passing away. That dream always had a way of haunting her.

Mal stirred and sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Nat?" he asked. "You okay?"

"I..." she stopped and looked at Mal. He was himself. He still had some burns across his face, but they were hardly noticeable. "I am fine."

"Did you have a nightmare?" Mal asked, getting up to get their little son.

"Just the one about the fire," Natara replied as Mal picked up little Jaxon Fallon. He bounced slightly and frowned.

"That happened years ago, Nat," he said.

"I know! But...it was just so traumatic. I mean, they lost you twice in the hospital..."

"And look at me now," Mal said with a grin as he sat next to his wife. "I'm the father of a healthy, little boy. I have an amazing wife who kept me alive through the whole process. I'm Captain of the SFPD, and my life couldn't be more perfect. Because of you, I'm still alive."

Natara smiled and snuggled up against Mal. "I guess so. I just wish I'd stop getting these nightmares."

"That's something you'll have to accomplish on your own," Mal whispered and he kissed the side of her head. "I'll take care of Jaxon. You get some sleep, alright?"

"Ok," Natara replied and she situated herself under the covers and closed her eyes. "Mal?"

"Mm?"

"You know that I love you, right?"

"Of course I do," Mal said, delivering it with a smirk. "You kept shouting it in your sleep."

((I am such a nerd. :D And I know it's out of the ordinary, but I really can't go through a story if I kill Mal and/or Natara. Read and Review? Flames for lame ending? :) Thank ya!))