TITLE: Ghosts of The Past

AUTHOR: Robin (icyfire)

EMAIL: icyfire@webtv.net

FEEDBACK: Yes, please. Praise or constructive crit welcomed with open arms.

DISTRIBUTION: CD of course. Anyone else please ask.

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. JJ, ABC, Bad Robot, Touchstone. Anyone else?

SUMMARY: On the tenth anniversary of Danny's death, the ghosts of the past come to haunt Francie, revealing to her a devastating secret about her husband.

RATING: Uh, PG-13 to be safe. This part is G.

CLASSIFICATION: Angst, action/adventure (I hope)

A/N: For Jenai, who asked for angsty wancie.

And, yes, I don't believe it. I'm actually posting a WIP. Don't think it is smart idea. Doing it anyway.

***

"I'm sorry, Amy," Francie said as she handed her the last dish to dry.

Her sister-in-law smiled at her. Her eyes said that the smile was forced. "You don't have anything to apologize about, Francie. The meal was wonderful. As always," she grumbled good-naturedly. It was an old joke between them, although Amy had become a good cook in her own way. With a lot of help from Francie.

"The meal was good, but the conversation was something else," Francie said from behind gritted teeth. "I wanted to strangle that brother of yours tonight."

Reaching to put up the plates, Amy looked over her shoulder and said, "You warned me that tonight would not be a good night."

Francie tossed the dishrag into the sink and grabbed up the dishtowel to her left. "Well, it has been ten years. He can get over it."

Amy turned and leaned against the counter. "Get over what? Ten years? Francie, I didn't even know Will tonight. When I called you this morning and told you about my promotion, I couldn't believe it when you tried to get me to wait until tomorrow to tell him. I knew that Will would be thrilled for me."

She crossed her arms and looked down at her shoes. "Only he wasn't."

Sighing, Francie reached over for her water glass. "He was thrilled for you, Amy. He really tried to show it, but tonight--" Tears stabbed at her eyes, making her angrier. "The fact he ate dinner with us says a lot about how much he cares for you."

"I don't understand."

Francie looked over her shoulder in the general direction of her husband's office. Even if she could see it, she wouldn't be able to see him. The door to that room--and him--was firmly closed. "I don't, either." She looked back at Amy's distressed face. "For one day a year, I live with a stranger."

Amy stared at her. "Why just this one day?"

"I wish I knew!" Francie threw her hands in the air. "He says it's about Danny."

"Danny?" Amy eyebrows knotted. "Oh, you mean Sydney's fiancé. He was killed around this time, wasn't he?"

Francie nodded, remembering the phone call from Sydney. The minute Sydney had said her name she had known something was wrong. The same way she had known five years later when Will had made the same type of call. "Ten years ago today. He says it is the day everything changed."

After licking her lips, Amy asked, "What changed?"

"I don't know," Francie whispered. "I don't know. If this was the anniversary of Syd's death, I would understand. I would. But he's almost happier on that day than normal. He goes to Sydney's grave--and Jack's-- and puts down flowers and goes on with life. But on this anniversary--"

Someone pounded on the back door, making Francie and Amy both jump. "I don't need this tonight," Francie muttered, and Amy nodded her understanding. It was probably someone from the paper wanting Will, demanding he leave his family without notice or explanation.

She flinched when she saw an old bag lady standing in front of her. Her hair was a natty gray, and it didn't look like it had been washed in years. She didn't smell that bad, but Francie could smell her clothes. Old sweat. The shirt was three sizes too large, and the pants two sizes two small. "I'm sorry--" Francie began but the old woman forced her way into the house. "Excuse me!"

"Tell Willie boy that I want to see him," she barked as she stopped in front of Amy. Her sister-in-law looked at Francie and saw the plea in her eyes. She turned on her heels and marched towards Will's office. "He is here, isn't he?" The softer voice sounded almost familiar.

"Yeah, Will's here, but I don't think he's going to like how you forced your way in here," Francie started. Her stomach rolled with fear. Her son was sleeping a hallway away. Was he in danger? She slowly began edging her way towards the kitchen counter where her knifes rested in their block.

She opened her mouth to say more when the lady froze. She was staring at the pictures on the wall. "Is that your little boy?" The harsh guttural tone of her voice was disappearing even more. Francie shivered at the sound. It sounded too familiar, and she didn't why it frightened her.

Will followed Amy into the kitchen. "I don't who she is, Amy, but--"

He stopped walking and talking when he caught sight of the woman before him. Francie saw recognition play across his face and relaxed.

"Hello, Will," the old lady said in a voice that sounded too young. Francie strained to remember how she knew that voice.

Her jaw fell open when her husband grabbed hold of the woman and hugged her close. "Sydney," he whispered, and Francie felt her world fall apart.

End 1/?

Thanks for reading!