Remember Me, Chap. 1
Disclaimer—Don't own them...just having another play date.
Summary—Caitlin has lost her memory due to an injury she suffered on a mission. Can Hawke and Dom bring her back to herself?
A/N—This is an idea that branched off from a suggestion from Starclipper01, and will have two chapters...this one, and a second where Hawke suffers an injury and amnesia. Italics will be used to indicate memories trying to break through. Also, bringing in Eagle, String and Caitlin's dog from Saying Goodbye. Enjoy, and please don't forget to review—robertwnielsen
"Wh-where am I? Who are you guys?" Caitlin Hawke demanded as she regained consciousness in the hospital, and found two men staring at her. One of the men, the younger of the two, Caitlin noticed, possessed the most piercingly hypnotic blue eyes Caitlin could ever recall seeing. I better quit staring at him, Caitlin said to herself, or, I'm gonna get lost in those eyes. She couldn't help thinking that the prospect of being lost in the strange eyes in front of her was somehow strangely attractive...even inviting...but she forced herself to snap out of her daze when the man began speaking to her.
"Cait...it's me," Stringfellow Hawke replied as he moved closer to the bed. "It's me, String."
"String? What kind of name is that?" Cait asked him, and the look on her face gave both men cause for concern.
"Cait...do you remember anything...before you got hurt?"
"H mm...lemme think for a minute," Caitlin said hesitantly, as her brow scrunched. "I...I remember a fight...musta been a bar fight of some kind...then, I woke up here, and found you two guys staring at me."
"Well, it was a fight," String replied, remembering the firefight that had broken out during their last Airwolf mission, during which Caitlin had hit her head as she jumped to move String out of the way of a terrorist who was lining up a shot at him. "But...not the way you're talking."
"What the heck is that supposed to mean?" Caitlin demanded.
"Um...I'll explain later," Hawke replied. "Do you remember Dom?" He gestured to the older man.
"I'm...I'm sorry, but I don't," Cait replied, as a nurse came into the room.
"Okay, Mrs. Hawke," the nurse began, but Caitlin interrupted her, a confused expression breaking out onto her face.
"WHO?" she demanded.
"Mrs. Hawke," the nurse repeated. "I was just about to go over your..."
"Excuse me, nurse, but my name is Caitlin O'Shannessy...I'm an officer with the Texas Highway Patrol," Caitlin said, startling both String and Dominic.
"Nurse," Hawke said, "may we speak with you outside?" The nurse nodded, and after pressing the call button for a doctor, she followed Dom and Hawke out of Caitlin's room.
"Something's wrong, isn't it?" Dom demanded.
"Well," the nurse replied, looking at her chart, "I was about to tell Mrs. Hawke that her test results all seemed good, and she should be able to go home later today...but based on what I just saw, I'm afraid I'm going to have to amend that statement—I mean, I assume the doctor will say she can still go home, but it appears Caitlin is suffering from amnesia. That's not uncommon in concussion victims like her."
"Amnesia?" Hawke replied, heartsick. "How—how long will it last? And, is there anything I can do?"
"As to how long, that's never an easy answer," the nurse replied. "Sometimes it only lasts a few hours...sometimes days...sometimes even longer. There's plenty you can do, though, Mr. Hawke—most important, show her things that remind her of her life...the life she's forgotten. That may help trigger her memories, and bring them back faster. The good news is—her concussion seems to be minor, so the amnesia may not last very long. The bad news is—you're going to need to be patient...understand that she doesn't remember you, or your life together...and above all, show her how much you love her," the nurse said. Hawke grimly nodded, and thanked the nurse before they went back into Caitlin's room.
When they walked back into Caitlin's room, String and Dom were surprised to find a doctor there examining her.
"All right, Mrs. Hawke"—the doctor began, but was interrupted.
"You're the second person who's called me that, confound it," Caitlin snapped. "I told these guys, and that nurse, my name is Caitlin O'Shannessy. I'm a helicopter pilot and an officer with the Texas Highway Patrol."
"Cait," Dom said hesitantly, "you're...you're not in Texas anymore, sweetheart. You're in California. You moved out here several years ago, looking for String."
"Now why would I go and do a gosh-darned fool thing like that?" Caitlin demanded, and Hawke had to stifle a smile. I swear...she sounded just like her mother used to sound, before we got together, Hawke said to himself.
"Because," Hawke said aloud, "you had come to tell me about my friend Jimmy being killed...after we came down and helped you with Sheriff Bogan."
"Wait a sec," Caitlin interjected. "You're tellin' me that I don't live in Texas anymore...that I live in California...okay, I suppose I can believe that...but why does everybody keep callin' me 'Mrs. Hawke,' for cryin' out loud?"
"Because," Hawke said hesitantly, then lifted her left hand to show her the wedding ring she wore, "we've been married for the past ten years." Hawke turned his own left hand over to show Caitlin the matching band.
"Married?" Caitlin demanded. "That's...that's impossible. Especially to a guy with a name like Stringfellow Hawke."
Both Dom and String were taken aback at the forcefulness of her statements. But it's not...her, Hawke reasoned. At least, not the Cait I know...and love. I've got to bring her back, Hawke determined.
"Well...Miss O'Shannessy," the doctor continued, being careful to use her maiden name, since that appeared to be how she wanted to be addressed, "Other than the fact that you can't remember any of your friends...especially your husband, I see no reason why you can't leave the hospital today...Mr. Hawke, I assume you'll be taking care of her?"
"Yes, Doctor," Hawke replied. "No matter what she says, I am her husband, so I'll take her home and take care of her there."
"Home?" Caitlin asked. "You're gonna take me back to Texas?"
"No, Cait," Hawke replied. "I'm going to take you home...to the cabin." He helped her get dressed, then signed her out, and the three of them walked to the brightly painted Santini Air jeep.
"Ready?" Hawke asked as he helped her in. Dom had told String he'd handle the driving, so the two of them could talk.
"I guess so," Caitlin replied, hesitantly. As they drove off, Caitlin said, "So, lemme see if I've got this straight. You—I mean—we, live in a cabin? And, I'm, your wife?" Not that I dislike the idea, Caitlin said to herself. He is awful good-looking...especially those eyes. I swear, I'm gonna get lost in those eyes if I'm not careful. Suddenly, Caitlin began hearing voices in her mind, and saw herself seated on a couch, as the man named Hawke came over to her.
Caitlin O'Shannessy, will you make me the happiest man on Earth, and marry me? The man who had introduced himself as Hawke was saying. She was sitting on what she figured was a couch, and there were other people around her—her mother and older sister Erin, the older man who was driving the Jeep, and another man, who the man called Hawke had introduced as his brother Saint John.
Yes! Oh, my God, yes, of course I'll marry you! Caitlin shouted as String slipped the diamond engagement ring onto the third finger of her left hand, just before she stood up and kissed him with everything she had.
What the heck? Caitlin asked herself. She pulled herself back into the present when she heard the man named Hawke speaking again.
"Yeah," Hawke replied. "We got married ten years ago, and we have a son, Jimmy. We named him after my friend, since his death was the reason you came back into our lives after Dom and I left Texas that first time, and we were thinking about another baby," Hawke continued.
"Even if I bought all that, which I don't, by the way, I'm not gonna just let you take me to some cabin way off in the middle of nowhere! That's, that's kidnapping, I'll have you know!"
"Cait," Hawke said, stroking the back of her hand to try to help her relax, "trust me. You, you used to say you trusted me and Dom with your life—so, will you trust me, now?"
Mom and Daddy always told me never to trust a stranger, Caitlin thought to herself, then added, at least, I think they always told me that, but somethin' tells me that what he's sayin' is true. Somethin' tells me I can...no. I should trust him. She smiled weakly at him and said, "All right, Hawke. I trust you."
It's a beginning, Hawke said to himself, not quite believing that he'd have to reeducate Caitlin on the last ten years of her life. "All right," he replied as they pulled up to the hangar.
"So you guys work here?" Caitlin demanded as they walked into the hangar.
"Well, not just us," Dom replied. "You work here, too, with String, and his big brother Saint John, and I've got a couple other people who help us out."
"Wait a sec," Caitlin interjected again. "Saint John?" She turned to Hawke. "And he's your brother? Your family sure had some weird names for kids."
Hawke smiled at that. That sounds more like my Cait, he said to himself. "You're not the first to tell me that," he said, remembering how several people had commented on his parents' penchant for strange names for their children. "But, yeah. In fact, here he comes," String said as he saw his older brother walking towards the group.
"String!" Saint John shouted as he walked up. "Everything okay? Cait, how are you feeling?" String and Dom had informed Saint John of Caitlin's injury after the mission was completed, and informed him that they were on the way to the hospital.
"Okay, I guess, Saint John," Caitlin replied, "except that I've got a splitting headache, and I can't remember a danged thing. Including all of you."
"Well, then," Saint John said as he smiled at her, "we'll just have to show you." He smiled at String reassuringly. "You guys gonna go back to the cabin?"
"Yeah, Sinj," Hawke replied. "I'm, I'm gonna show her some things up there...see if they bring back any memories for her."
"Well," Saint John replied, "you know Le and I are here to help, if you need us. We're just a radio call away." He squeezed String's shoulder reassuringly. "Oh, and Jimmy can stay with us until things get resolved," Saint John added. String remembered how Saint John had picked up their son just before he and Caitlin left with Dom to get Airwolf. Hawke wondered if having their son there might help Cait, but decided against it. "Thanks, Sinj," String replied.
"Me, too, String," Dom replied. "I wouldn't let you go through this alone. Anything you need, just let me know."
"I know, Sinj, and Dom," String replied, then added, "and thanks." He helped Caitlin strap into the passenger seat of the helicopter, then he strapped into the pilot's seat, started the engine, and after receiving clearance from the tower, lifted the patriotically-painted helicopter into the sky. As they flew, Caitlin thought she heard voices in her head again, starting with her own voice.
You just blew up the county jail, the sheriff, and half the cowboys in town! Caitlin said to the strange black and white helicopter.
See you 'round, kid, a voice came from inside the helicopter—a voice Caitlin thought she recognized. Then, the helicopter flew away, faster than anything Caitlin had ever seen before.
God in heaven! Caitlin said out loud as the helicopter flew away.
What the heck? Caitlin said to herself. Why did I think that voice sounded familiar? And what kind of helicopter was that? Suddenly, another vision rushed into her head.
I knew it! I told you I knew it! Caitlin said.
Knew what? Hawke demanded.
Oh, come on, String, quit teasin', can I take this blindfold off now? Caitlin was puzzled at the voices she'd heard in her head a moment ago—they sounded like Hawke's voice, or the man who called himself Hawke; and her voice. But she couldn't understand why she had asked to take a blindfold off. Maybe he was takin' me to a party or somethin', Caitlin said to herself. But what was I sayin' I knew, for Pete's sake?
"So you really live out in the middle of nowhere?" Caitlin asked. "And, and I live there, too?"
"Yeah," Hawke replied. "The cabin used to belong to my family, but my mom and dad were killed when a drunk plowed a boat into the boat we were all riding in and my parents died. Dom raised Saint John and me after that, and I decided I wanted to live at the cabin until Saint John and I went to Vietnam."
"What?" Caitlin asked. "You were in Vietnam?" Now I know where I heard that voice before. It was...Hawke? What the heck was he doin' flyin' a weird-looking helicopter like that? Did he really blow up the county jail, Bogan, and half the cowboys in Pope County? She pulled herself back into the present when she heard Hawke continuing his story.
"Yeah. Saint John and I were both in the 1st Air Cav; went down on the same mission, actually, but he didn't get picked up, and everybody thought he was dead, except me. I kept looking, and finally we found him, a few months before you and I got married."
"So then, I love you, right?" Caitlin asked.
"I sure hope so," Hawke answered her, smiling in spite of the situation. "Because I most definitely love you." Caitlin smiled and nodded at him, even as the voices sounded in her head again.
Mayday! Mayday! Hawke, he's here! It's a Corsair! I'm at angels 6, and he's pursuing!
I gotcha, I hear you Caitlin! Head for the deck and take evasive action!
"Cait? You okay?" Hawke asked, concerned.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Caitlin replied, "just hearing things, I guess." She forced a weak smile at Hawke, then turned back towards the window.
A few minutes later, Hawke brought the helicopter down onto the dock at the cabin, and shut down the engine. Once they were unstrapped, Hawke helped Caitlin out of the helicopter and they walked towards the cabin, but Caitlin was stunned by the scenery.
"Wow!" Caitlin exclaimed as she took in the view. "This...this is incredible! I sure wish I could remember livin' here," she said, sighing.
So do I, Hawke said to himself worriedly. "You will, Cait," he said aloud. "I promise you, you will."
"I, I believe you, Hawke," Caitlin replied.
"Cait, Hawke is my last name; my family name. My first name is String," he reminded her. "But if it makes you more comfortable, you can still call me Hawke. You used to call me that all the time when we first met."
"Okay, Hawke," Caitlin replied. "You said we met when you were down in Texas? What were you doing there, for Pete's sake?"
"Well," Hawke began, hesitantly, "we had gone down there on some, business." I sure don't want to tell her what kind of business, Hawke said to himself, remembering that they'd been in Texas on FIRM business when things had erupted with Bogan. "But I had been arrested, and that was the first time I saw you—your hair was shorter then, though. Do you remember that?"
"Kinda," Caitlin said. "I remember having to have short hair on the force. Bogan always insisted on that. Was he doin' something wrong?"
"Sort of," Hawke replied as he fixed dinner for the two of them. They ate in silence, Hawke figuring he'd try to let Caitlin absorb some of what had happened. He was relieved, yet disappointed that Jimmy was visiting Le and Saint John, though—If he were here, maybe that would help, Hawke thought to himself.
When they finished with dinner, Hawke cleaned the dishes and then joined Caitlin on the couch, just as his dog Eagle walked into the cabin and placed his head in Caitlin's lap.
"Hello, boy," Caitlin said as she scratched the dog behind the ears. "He seems to know me," she said as she turned to Hawke.
"Well, he should," Hawke said. "You're the one who picked him out after Tet died."
"Tet?" Caitlin asked.
"Tet was my first dog. He died a few years ago, and you bought Eagle for me as a Christmas present." He smiled as he remembered seeing Eagle the first time.
"Well, he sure seems like a nice dog," Caitlin said as she noticed Hawke getting up from the couch and pulling something from the shelf.
"What's this, Hawke?" Caitlin asked as Hawke returned with a large album.
"Some pictures," Hawke replied, opening the album and pausing on the first picture. "Here we are on the dock...on our wedding day. There's Dom, and Michael, and Marella."
"Michael? Marella? Who are they?" Caitlin asked.
"They're, ah, friends of my family," Hawke said hesitantly, not wanting to reveal the real relationship they had with Michael and Marella.
Just like that, another vision snapped into Caitlin's mind.
Michael, what's wrong? Caitlin asked from her seat in the Electronic Data Command Center, aboard Airwolf.
Maria's dead, Hawke said from the countermeasure specialist's chair.
She was working with Krueger all along, Michael said, and Caitlin detected the sadness in his voice.
I'm sorry, Caitlin said, hoping Michael believed her. He nodded at Caitlin, then turned back to Hawke. "It couldn't be helped. I do know that, Hawke." Caitlin suddenly snapped herself back to the present when Hawke said, "Cait? You okay? Where were you just now?"
"Sorry, Hawke. Just thinkin' that those two, Michael and Marella; their names sound, familiar," Caitlin said. "Like I heard 'em somewhere before, but I just can't remember where. That's all."
"Really?" Hawke asked.
"Sorta," Caitlin replied. "Hawke, before this happened, were we, happy together?"
"I like to think so, Cait," Hawke replied. Caitlin smiled and nodded at him before she spoke again.
"So I met you in Texas, you said. Did we get married right away?"
"No," Hawke said, suppressing a chuckle. "It took you almost three years to get me to accept that you loved me, and you were pretty vocal about it sometimes, too. Kept saying how frustrated you were that I couldn't accept how you felt; and that you were gonna go back to Texas, and you used to argue with your mom quite a bit about it, too. But once I finally accepted it, we fell in love, and got married about ten years ago, like I said before."
"Why'd it take you so long to accept how I felt? If that's how I felt?" Caitlin asked.
"Cait, for the longest time, I felt like I had a curse on me—that everyone I loved, or might love, would die. And events were bearing that out more than they were disproving it—first, there was the accident where my parents got killed. Then my high school girlfriend Kelly and I were in a car accident, but she didn't make it. Then, when Saint John and I were in 'Nam, we went down on the same mission—except he didn't get picked up, and was missing for over sixteen years, until he came home just before we got married."
"Well, having your brother back must make you feel a little better about this curse you told me about," Caitlin said.
"Yeah, Cait. It does," Hawke admitted. But what happened to you just makes it worse. I mean, you're here, physically, but in every other way, you're not here, Hawke thought sadly. He pulled himself into the present, though, when Caitlin looked up at him.
"Listen, Hawke. What are we gonna do about...?"
"Don't worry about it, Cait," Hawke replied. "You can have the main bedroom. I'll take the guest room, okay?"
"Okay, Hawke," Caitlin said. "But—if we're married, shouldn't we—?"
"Cait," Hawke said, placing a hand on her shoulder, "it wouldn't be right for us to share a bed when you don't remember that we're in love, and that we're married. I'll be just down the hall if you need me. Okay?"
"Okay, Hawke," Caitlin replied as the two of them walked upstairs and Hawke helped Caitlin pick out a nightgown. "Good night, Cait," Hawke said as he turned to walk out.
"Good night, Hawke," Caitlin replied. "And, thanks. For everything."
"Anytime," Hawke replied as he left the room and walked to the guest room.
As Caitlin lay alone in her bed, she felt her emotions being spun in a thousand different directions.
He sure acts like he cares about me, Caitlin said to herself. I, I wish I could remember him. Suddenly, she saw herself outside of the cabin, and heard her voice in her head again.
I'm through, Hawke. I'm through with people, with life, with work, with everything. That's it! I'm gonna get on a plane and just keep on going until the money runs out...then I'm gonna walk. I'm never gonna stop long enough to get involved with anybody! She stifled a smile as Hawke played a mock funeral dirge on his cello, then a more upbeat little tune.
You came to my rescue again, didn't you? she asked.
You know, we really like having you around...but it wasn't us, Hawke replied.
Now wait a minute! You wait just a minute! Do you mean that you're just gonna sit there and tell me that I just imagined—well, that I didn't see—that there's no big, black helicopter? Now can you do that? Caitlin demanded.
I think she's feelin' better, Hawke said as Dominic chuckled, and Hawke launched into the opening bars of "The 1812 Overture" on his cello.
What the heck was that? Caitlin asked herself. What big black helicopter? And when did Hawke come to my rescue? I wish, I wish I could remember, Caitlin said to herself as she fell into an uneasy and restless sleep.
Meanwhile, Hawke had found a picture of him and Caitlin there in the guest room, and was staring at it. Come on back, Cait, Hawke said to himself. I, I miss you; and I need you. Come back to me, he said to himself as he climbed into the guest room bed and fell into an uneasy sleep. The last thing Hawke remembered before he fell asleep was their wedding day, when they'd both promised to be there for each other, no matter what. And I will be, Hawke said to himself. I said I'd always be there for Cait, and I will. No matter what.
Meanwhile, Caitlin was having her own issues as she fell deeper into sleep. She was recalling, or at least, she thought she was recalling, a discussion she'd had with Hawke.
Hawke? I didn't wanna bring this up before, but, what did you end up tellin' those investigators? Caitlin asked.
I just said that Detective Sergeant Brannen was out there with Langhorne under surveillance. And I let it go at that, Hawke answered her.
You're a good guy, Stringfellow Hawke, Caitlin said, smiling at him.
Well, don't let that get around, huh? Hawke asked, smiling back at her.
Caitlin simply shook her head at Hawke and smiled at him, as Hawke smiled back at her.
Then something else occurred to her.
Mayday, Mayday! Caitlin called frantically over the radio. Hawke, he's here! It's a Corsair! I'm at Angels 6, and he's pursuing!
I gotcha, I hear you, Caitlin! Hawke's reassuring voice came back. Head for the deck, and take evasive action, we're right behind you! Okay, now we're getting somewhere, Caitlin said to herself. Now maybe I can figure out what the heck that thing was that I saw before. She tried to relax as the voices continued.
"I'll see ya, Cait! That's a good show, fellas." A voice Caitlin thought she recognized said as the Corsair that had been firing on her plane plunged to the deck.
"Robert?" Caitlin asked over the radio, and everyone, including Hawke, could hear the tears in her voice. Carter Anderson III and his assistant, Rosalind, both reacted as Caitlin began crying.
What the heck? Caitlin asked herself. I've been here before? And who's Robert? And what about that big black helicopter? Caitlin asked herself, as more thoughts came into her mind.
So, where do you keep it? Caitlin asked.
Keep what? Hawke replied.
Oh, you know, that black battleship with the rotors, Caitlin answered him. Hawke tried to keep his expression neutral as he said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Wait a sec, Caitlin said to herself, growing more excited. I—I think I'm startin' to remember. What was it...? She tried to quiet her mind as more images and voices came into it.
Oh, wow! Oh, boy! Caitlin said out loud as she stared at the myriad of levers, knobs, buttons, and switches in front of her. String, I knew it. I TOLD YOU I knew it!
Fine, String said, and you're gonna FORGET IT as soon as this mission's over, right? Hawke demanded.
Right. Caitlin replied sheepishly.
All right. Lesson number one. There's a target selection screen right next to the main panel.
Got it! Caitlin said, swiveling her chair to see the screen.
The program keys above are used to call up any weapons required, Hawke said. We have access to all 14 weapons systems, so long as we're not at Mach 1. Now, say for instance, I call for a Hellfire...
Caitlin found the appropriate button and pressed it. "Okay. Hellfire." She suddenly heard what sounded like an alarm screaming.
Caitlin! Deploy the pods! Hawke shouted.
Where? Where is it? Caitlin asked, panicked.
Release the missile chamber! Top button above the fire...Hawke began, but Caitlin interrupted him.
Oh, got it, got it! Caitlin shouted, pressing the appropriate buttons. As the missile launched and then exploded, Caitlin felt a surge of fear as she shouted, "Ooh!" Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she felt a rush of fear; and she could think of only one way to calm herself. I need to know he's okay, she thought, frightened.
"Hawke!" Caitlin shouted, loud enough to wake him up.
"Cait?" Hawke asked as he came running into the room. "You okay?"
"I, I think so," Caitlin replied. "But I've got a question—do you fly a huge black and white helicopter? One that looks like, a black battleship with rotors, not to mention somethin' you might find in Darth Vader's bedroom?" Hawke reacted with surprise at Caitlin's question, and her use of the phrase "black battleship with rotors." That's what she used to call Airwolf all the time, Hawke said to himself. But, I can't lie to her, he said to himself, even as he recalled Caitlin saying "you stick me in a machine that looks like somethin' out of Darth Vader's bedroom!' the first time she flew in Airwolf.
"Yeah, Cait," Hawke replied. "I, that is, we fly that helicopter. And Michael and Marella, they're not friends of my family. They work for the agency that built the helicopter—it's called the FIRM—and we fly missions for them whenever they need us to."
"You mean, we all fly that thing?" Caitlin asked. "Even, me?"
"Yeah," Hawke replied, walking over and sitting on the side of the bed opposite her, glad he'd thrown a pair of sweat pants on before he left the guest room. "We call the helicopter Airwolf; and Dom and I taught you how to fly her after Michael—we call him Archangel—was captured by the Russians. Dom and I had been hurt in a movie stunt, and we needed your help to go into East Germany and rescue Archangel," Hawke finished, studying Caitlin's face to see if his information had triggered any memories in her.
"Did I, did I do somethin' wrong when you taught me how to fly this helicopter?" Caitlin asked.
Smiling, Hawke replied, "Yeah, you could say that." He proceeded to tell her how he had said, "Now, say for instance, I call for a Hellfire..." and how she had pressed the button to arm the missile without first deploying the ADF pods. Caitlin also asked Hawke about the blindfold, and he replied that he'd blindfolded her before he took her to the Lair, the place where they kept Airwolf.
"Why'd you do that?" Caitlin asked Hawke.
"I, I wasn't sure if I could trust you, Cait," Hawke said, embarrassed. "And, I wanted the place where I kept Airwolf to remain secret, so that Michael couldn't find her and try to take her back. That's also why I waited after you asked me about the blindfold—I wanted to make sure we were out of the area of the Lair—that's where we keep Airwolf—before I let you take it off. I did the same thing with Dom the first few times we went out to the Lair, so, it wasn't anything personal. Did you remember something about that?" Hawke wondered if he should have mentioned the Lair like he did, but, he said to himself, I did it, so I can't very well take it back now. And besides, she doesn't remember it.
"Yeah," Caitlin said. "I remembered buggin' you to let me take the blindfold off, and when I did, I saw more switches, knobs, levers, and buttons than I think I'd ever seen in one place in my life. So you said I armed a missile by accident. And that was a problem?" Caitlin asked him.
"Yeah. If we hadn't gotten the missile launched, it could have blown us both to smithereens," Hawke said in conclusion. "Did you remember that?"
"Yeah. Well, I mean, sorta," Caitlin said sheepishly. "I've—I've been hearing voices ever since I left the hospital—yours, mine, other people, and I think they're connected to the memories you say I'm tryin' to find. Like they're tryin' to tell me something."
"They are, Cait," Hawke replied, daring to hope that this nightmare might end soon. "They are. Now, are you okay to go back to sleep?" Hawke asked.
"Yeah, I guess so," Caitlin replied, but just before he left the room, she spoke again. "Hawke? Did—did I know some guy named Robert? And, did I see him die?"
"Yeah, Cait," Hawke replied, telling her the story of how she'd fallen in love with Robert Villers, only to find out he was only using her because he'd found out she was going to be flying Carter Anderson III to a meeting, and someone had hired Villers to prevent Anderson from attending that meeting. When Hawke told her how he had shot Villers down after he attacked Caitlin's plane, she seemed to understand. "And that's why I seemed sad when he—when he died?" Caitlin asked.
"Yeah," Hawke admitted. "I hated to have to do what I did, but it was either we took him out, or he would have blown you and Carter Anderson III to kingdom come." Not to mention us, since Airwolf's #2 engine was giving us trouble, Hawke said to himself.
"Hawke, I wasn't hurt in some kinda bar fight, was I?" Caitlin asked. "It was on a..."
"A mission, Cait. We were in a firefight with some terrorists, and you saw one lining up to take a shot at me. You jumped to push me out of the way, and hit your head on a concrete pillar, and that's how you got the concussion, and how you lost your memory," Hawke said as he got up from the bed to go back to his room.
"Wow, that's a lot to take in," Caitlin said as Hawke stood up. "And Hawke, thanks again. For everything."
"Any time, Cait," Hawke replied, smiling at her before he turned out the light and left to go back to the guest room. "You'd do the same for me."
As she watched him go, Caitlin thought to herself, Rats. I shoulda said somethin' before he walked out, but I—I wanted him to stay with me. He—he didn't have to go back to the other room. I mean, it's not like we haven't shared this bed for—wait a minute! She thought about yelling for Hawke again, but decided to wait, as more memories came rushing in.
Are you a doctor? Caitlin asked the strange woman in white.
Yes. If you don't mind, I'd like to examine these two, the strange woman replied, curtly.
Ooh, sure, Caitlin said, standing up to leave.
No, no, you don't have to go anywhere—Dom started to say, but Cait interrupted him.
Dom, it's okay. I'll wait outside, Cait said, and quickly walked out of the hospital room.
That was after the flying stunt went so wrong, Caitlin said to herself, startled that she remembered so much detail. I wonder...she tried to relax, and soon another vision came into her mind—a vision of a room filled with gunfire, as she and String attempted to fight their way out.
String, LOOK OUT! Caitlin shouted, jumping towards him and shoving him out of the way, then falling unconscious, after hitting her head on a stone pillar.
That's IT! Caitlin rejoiced as she remembered the injury she suffered when she jumped to save String's life. He was about to get shot by a terrorist and I jumped at him to shove him outta the way. That's when I lost my memory! Caitlin knew she had to relax, and try to sleep, but she felt the memories rushing in too fast.
You could wear this around your neck! Caitlin said, holding the offending bolt towards Hawke. He'd been working on Dom's old Stearman, and hadn't noticed her until she spoke up, but when he heard her voice, he reacted.
"Caitlin! Deputy Caitlin!" Hawke said as he broke into an uncharacteristic smile.
I know that, Caitlin replied. She gasped as she recalled the scene outside the hangar at Santini Air. That was—that was when I came back to California, lookin' for String. And I was so thrilled at String's smile, since he barely smiled at me the whole time he was in Texas dealin' with Bogan, that I didn't even have the heart to correct him, tell him that I wasn't a 'Deputy.' But when he smiled at me like that, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself, then relaxed as another memory came into her mind.
I dunno about you guys, but I'm HUNGRY, Dom said. Whataya say we stop off for some beer and bratwurst, huh?
WHERE? Hawke asked, incredulous.
Well, I dunno. Anyplace that's got beer & bratwurst, I suppose! Dom retorted.
Yeah, we can discuss our next mission, Caitlin replied from Dom's normal position in the EDCC.
What mission? Michael demanded from his seat.
OH, you know, Caitlin said. Whatever you assign them to do next in this helicopter!
WHAT HELICOPTER? Hawke, Michael, and Dom demanded at the same time.
That was after Michael got captured. That was the first time I ever flew a mission in Airwolf, Caitlin said to herself. I think—I think it's comin' back to me. Sure enough, more memories flooded in.
Collective, COLLECTIVE! You're over-torquing. You're over-torquing! Pull in some collective! Dom said. As Airwolf shot into the sky over the Valley of the Gods, Dom corrected himself. Not THAT much!
Okay, Caitlin said nervously from the pilot's seat, then added, Not bad, huh? She stopped when she saw Dom roll his eyes at her from the co-pilot's chair.
Well, okay, so I'm learning! Caitlin shot back. You know, you've gotta admit, this isn't your ordinary-powered puddle-jumper!
Nah, you're doin' fine, Dom said.
Really? Caitlin asked.
REALLY! Dom said firmly.
Great! Then when can I fly Airwolf—she stopped as Dom interrupted.
NO! Dom said, more firmly than before.
That—that was when Dom taught me how to actually fly her, Caitlin thought to herself excitedly, realizing the memories were coming faster. She tried to relax, to see what other memories would come, and they continued coming, faster than before. But there was somethin' else from the first time I flew in her, before we went to rescue Michael—and just like that, Caitlin could see herself and Hawke back in Airwolf again.
You could've killed us! Hawke shouted angrily as he evaded the missile.
I'm sorry! Caitlin shouted back, more frightened than angry.
'Sorry' doesn't cut it—this is no Highway Patrol chopper! I don't want you touching anything until I've thoroughly explained it! Hawke shouted.
Right, Caitlin replied meekly.
The point is, Caitlin, Hawke said, trying to calm his voice down, it's gonna take me a week to familiarize you with these controls.
Does that mean we're not going? Caitlin asked.
Nah, String replied, less angrily than before. It just means I'm gonna have to find some way to put Dom's brain in your body!
Just—don't do it the other way around! Caitlin said, fearfully. She heard Hawke chuckle slightly just before she felt a powerful kick in the rear end, as the helicopter suddenly picked up speed.
That's right! Caitlin thought happily, realizing that she was remembering the events that led up to Michael's rescue. She thought about calling for Hawke again, but decided against it. I—I think I'll see what else I can remember, she said to herself, even as another memory came rushing into her head—one she wouldn't mind if she never recalled again.
HAWKE! I THOUGHT IT'D HELP YOU! NO! NO! Caitlin fell onto Hawke's chest, sobbing, as she realized Hawke was dead—at least, I thought he was dead—Caitlin thought with a small shudder as she remembered the aftermath of injecting String with the antidote Michael gave her. She stifled another chuckle as she remembered something else—the way I was layin' on top of String—if I hadn't noticed he was movin' a few minutes later, who knows what he woulda thought? She smiled to herself as she remembered laying on top of Hawke, sobbing, one ear pressed directly over his heart, hoping and praying she'd hear something that would prove to her that String was alive—and then, her shock at realizing String was alive, and regaining consciousness—and how quickly she'd clambered off him, before he saw her on top of him that way. Now, of course, I doubt he'd mind at all if he opened his eyes and found me layin' on top of him like that, Caitlin thought, grinning impishly even as another memory rushed into her head.
Mom! Mom, you're right! Look. If I had a family, and a husband, and children, I wouldn't have been on that plane! Look, Mom! I'll call you later! Caitlin remembered sitting on a bench in the hangar, first with a sledgehammer in her hand, then after Dom took that away from her, she picked up a wrench and fidgeted with it as she argued with her mother.
That was after the hijacking when I was flyin' back to Texas for Erin's wedding, Caitlin thought happily. Then, after I hung up, I remember Dom saying, 'you know, maybe your mommy's right. You should be lookin' out for your future. And there's a lot of guys out there.'
And I said, 'Oh, yeah? WHERE?' And Dom just pointed at String and said, 'Well? Huh?' And then he started laughing. And I was so scared, and embarrassed, but String just looked at me, and smiled, and that just made me love him all the more. I mean, I didn't know if String was gonna laugh in my face, or yell at me. But he just smiled at me, as if he knew why I was so unnerved. I—I can't believe it—it's all comin' back to me. Then, she was sitting in Archangel's limousine, arguing with Dom.
Not 'we,' ME! The instructions say, 'ME!' Dom shouted, after talking over Hawke's kidnapping with Michael and Caitlin, who announced, "We gotta get the Lady!"
Dom, don't do that to me, Caitlin replied, and it seemed to Dom that she was near tears. I care about him, too, you know. Probably more than you know. Hearing her own voice saying that, Caitlin's eyes snapped open. That was after Horn kidnapped Hawke. I told Dom that I cared about Hawke. And I—I do care about Hawke. I mean—String. I love him, for Pete's sake! And I decided a long time ago that I'd only call him 'Hawke' if I was really—REALLY—ticked off at him. I can't believe it. I—I remember! That scene I saw before, that was the night String asked me to marry him, and the night we first—made love, Caitlin thought to herself, closing her eyes again and smiling as she recalled the events of that night.
Some reason you wanted to stay here tonight, Cait? Hawke asked as they watched Dom's helicopter fly away.
And I remember, I remember how I moved closer to him, pressed my body up against his, and told him, String, don't ask stupid questions. Then I kissed him, and I was hopin' he'd get the message, but dang him. He pulled us apart and said, Cait, if this isn't what you want, you tell me. You tell me, right now.
And I remember how frustrated I was, but I didn't let him know it. But after I thought about it for a second, I knew why he was hesitating like that—I remember how I told him about what Bogan's boys tried to do to me, and String didn't want to bring back any bad memories from those times—which just made me love him—and want him—that much more. Finally, I just said, String, shut up, take me upstairs, and make love to me. Now. Right now. And I have to give credit where credit's due, Caitlin said to herself, stifling a chuckle, but he did exactly what I told him to. And, Caitlin said to herself, sighing as the memory came back to her, when I asked him about it later, he told me why he hesitated.
String, why were you hesitatin' so much the other night? Caitlin asked him.
Well, Cait, I remembered what you said about what Bogan's boys tried to do to you—I just didn't want to bring back any bad memories from that time, String told her.
String, Caitlin said, sliding her arms around his neck, What happened with Bogan's boys is the past—dead, and buried, along with Bogan and the rest of his crowd. Now, I'm makin' a whole new set of memories—with you. Caitlin smiled again as she remembered String's response. We made love the rest of the night, she said to herself with a contented sigh.
Suddenly, the scene in her mind changed again...to the dock, on what she now remembered as their wedding day.
Do you, Stringfellow Hawke, take Caitlin O'Shannessy to be your lawful wedded wife? Judge Clevenger asked.
I do. Hawke replied.
And do you, Caitlin O'Shannessy, take Stringfellow Hawke to be your lawful wedded husband?
With tears of love and happiness shining in her eyes, Caitlin proudly proclaimed, Yes. I do.
Then by the power vested in me by the great State of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife, Judge Clevenger said. After they shared their first kiss, Caitlin heard him announce, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Stringfellow Hawke! The small group gathered on the dock burst into applause as they kissed again.
I can't believe I forgot our wedding day, Caitlin said to herself. String would never let me hear the end of it if I told him. I mean, that was the happiest day of my life. At least, until Jimmy was born, Caitlin said to herself as the scene in her mind shifted again.
Then they were in a hospital room, and it seemed that Caitlin was in great pain. Suddenly, she screamed, Goddammit, Hawke! Don't you ever touch me again! You hear me?
That—that was the day Jimmy was born, Caitlin thought excitedly. It hurt so much—and I was so mad at String—but it was all worth it when I saw him—our son—with String's eyes and my red hair—just the combination I wanted. I remember! I remember everything! Caitlin said to herself happily. She knew sleep would not come easily the rest of the night, but she also knew she had to try. 'Cause I'm gonna have a lot to tell String in the morning, and I want to be awake to tell him, Caitlin said to herself as she closed her eyes. As she felt sleep claiming her, more memories rushed into Caitlin's mind.
I remember—I remember watchin' String cut the umbilical cord, and how I didn't want that nurse to take Jimmy away from us. But String told me he'd be watching the whole time, and he did, too. And I remember what I said to him, Caitlin said to herself, smiling as the memories came back to her.
Thank you, String, Caitlin whispered, breathless. Thank you for making me a mommy.
Thank you, Caitlin, for making me a daddy, Hawke replied, smiling at her through his tears.
That was only the second, no. The third time I ever saw String cry, Caitlin said to herself. The first was when he came out of the brainwashing in Horn's compound, when he thought he'd killed Dom. Then the second was our wedding day. Then when Jimmy was born. And I didn't think either one of us would make it those eight weeks until we could be intimate again, but we did. Another memory rushed in, and Caitlin smiled as the scene played out in her mind.
They were lying in their bed at the cabin, about eight weeks after Jimmy was born. "String?" Caitlin asked.
"Yeah?" Hawke grumbled.
"Do you remember what I said when Jimmy was born?" Caitlin asked him, knowing full well he did.
"Of course, I remember, Cait," Hawke said. "You said I was never touching you again." Hawke grumbled, fully aware of how long the last eight weeks had seemed.
"Well," Caitlin purred, gliding her fingertips across his chest, "what would you say if I told you I didn't mean it? And, that the doctor said it's okay if you do touch me again," she grinned impishly at him. Hawke suddenly remembered that Cait had been to the doctor that day.
As he reached for her, Hawke said, "I was kinda hopin' you'd say that." He curled his upper lip into the boyish grin he knew she loved as he moved inside her.
The next morning, Hawke was up and working on breakfast when Caitlin came downstairs.
"'Morning, Cait," Hawke said as he turned to her. As Caitlin launched herself into his arms, Hawke noticed something—Caitlin was smiling, something she hadn't been doing since before she got hurt.
Without saying a word, Caitlin launched herself into his arms, smothering his lips with hers in a passionate kiss that threatened to drown them both. What on Earth? Hawke asked himself as he tried to extricate himself from Caitlin's arms, but she tightened her arms around Hawke, drawing him closer to her body until she finally felt him relent and relax into her kiss. I can't believe I forgot what this feels like, Caitlin said to herself as she felt String matching her passions with his own. Bein' held by String is the greatest feeling in the world!
Finally, though, Hawke began to grow concerned. Once he'd caught his breath after he pulled them apart, he said, "Cait? Are you okay? What brought that on?"
"String, I'm hurt," Caitlin said. "Shouldn't a wife give her husband a good-morning kiss?"
"Well, yeah, I guess so," Hawke replied, not wanting to believe what he was hearing. "But with you not remembering anything about us, or..." Then, something dawned on him. She said 'String,' not 'Hawke,' like she has been.
"String," Caitlin interrupted him, "I REMEMBER. ALL of it. Us, Jimmy, Saint John, Dom. Even Airwolf, Michael, and Marella." She looked up at Hawke with tears in her eyes. "Last night, String. After you went back to the guest room. It, it all came back to me."
Okay, let me try something here, Hawke said to himself. "All right, let's see here. When Dom was kidnapped by Horn," He stopped as Cait interrupted him.
"String, don't even try to joke about somethin' like that—'cause it's not funny. You were the one kidnapped by Horn, and Dom and I came and rescued you. 'Course, Dom didn't want me comin' along, since you made that tape that said Dom had to deliver Airwolf, alone. I had to tell him, 'Dom, don't do that to me. I care about him, too, you know. Probably more than you know.' And I remember the look on Dom's face when I said that. He was probably thinkin' he knew that I loved you, or somethin' like that." String smiled when he heard those words. And I remember Dom telling me about it after I got rescued, String thought to himself, pulling himself back into the present when he heard Caitlin speaking again.
"Anyway, I was sitting hidden behind the pilot's seat, just before I crawled into the missile compartment, and I watched you shoot Dom—'course, I didn't know until I saw him later that the gun had been full of tranquilizers. Then I stole a uniform from one of Horn's guards and came to your room to find you." Caitlin's eyes filled with tears as she continued, "but you didn't recognize me because of the brainwashing that Horn did, and you—you attacked me. I fought back, and injected you with an experimental drug that Michael gave me. He told me—he told me not to use it unless I absolutely had to, because in about a third of the tests, the test subjects died. And—and I thought you had died, String, until you came around a few minutes later. I had—I had nightmares about it for weeks afterward, too," Caitlin said, moving closer to Hawke again. "And of course, I called dibs on Angelica, 'cause after I saw her walkin' out of your room, String, I thought—I thought that you two had slept together, and I gotta admit that I was jealous," Caitlin said, her cheeks turning a slight pink. Hawke nodded, recalling when they had discussed her suspicions. And I assured her that nothing happened, Hawke said to himself.
"And you remember all that? What else do you remember?" Hawke asked.
"Well, I remembered the accident—how I yelled at you because one of the terrorists we were in a gun battle with was lining up to take a shot at you, and I jumped to push you out of the line of fire, then I knocked myself out. I guess that's when I lost my memory." String smiled to himself as he realized that Caitlin had, indeed, recovered her memories, but let her continue.
"And, I remembered standin' in the front door with Dom, waiting for him to escort me down the aisle...the pier, actually, to you on our wedding day. And, I remembered the night you asked me to marry you—we were all here. You and me, Dom, Erin, Mom, even Saint John and Le. You were standing over by the fireplace, and then you came over to the couch where I was sitting and popped the question—and—that was the night we first made love," Caitlin continued, smiling as the full memory of that night came back to her again. "And, I remembered the vows we took that day, how we said that we'd always be here for each other, no matter what." Hawke smiled as he remembered the words they had exchanged.
"Oh, yeah. And I remembered giving birth to Jimmy—how I said you'd never touch me again, and how I conveniently forgot that I said that just a few weeks later, after the doctor told me it was okay." String smiled and nodded at his wife.
"It's all there, String," Caitlin repeated, tapping her forehead with her index finger, and smiling at him. "I'm—I'm myself again."
Thank you, God, String thought happily, realizing Caitlin had fully recovered. Aloud, he said, "Welcome back, Caitlin O'Shannessy."
Caitlin playfully elbowed him in the ribs. "My name is Caitlin Hawke, smart guy," she teased, and String felt himself finally relaxing, especially when Caitlin smiled up at him, that 'million-dollar smile' that he was so in love with. "And don't you forget it."
"I won't," Hawke replied as he took her in his arms again. "I promise you, I won't."
"Good," Caitlin replied, moving closer in his arms and kissing him again.
"Just one thing, Cait," Hawke said when they separated again. "Why did you say you remembered everything about our wedding, and about Jimmy being born, last?"
"Well, those are my best memories, after all. And you know what they say about saving the best for last," Caitlin said as she grinned up at Hawke. Then something dawned on her. Uh-oh. Even though I didn't say anything, String knows I forgot both our wedding day and Jimmy bein' born. Well, I guess whatever he says, I'll just have to take it.
"Just checking," Hawke said as he smiled at her.
"How out of it was I, String?" Caitlin asked as they worked on the breakfast dishes, together. Caitlin had started doing the dishes, per the unwritten rule of the house, but String jumped in beside her and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. No big deal, really, Caitlin thought, happily. I'm always happiest with String beside me, no matter what the circumstances.
"You were pretty far gone, Cait," Hawke replied. "You couldn't remember me, Jimmy, Dom, Michael, Sinj—any of us. And in the hospital, you kept calling yourself 'Caitlin O'Shannessy,' which meant you didn't remember that we were married, which is why I said, 'Welcome back, Caitlin O'Shannessy,' a few minutes ago. You also didn't remember Airwolf, which really had me worried."
"I guess I can understand," Caitlin said, "but I really can't believe I'd forget everyone, especially you and Jimmy. Speaking of Jimmy, where is he?"
"Cait," Hawke began worriedly, "Jimmy's staying with Saint John and Le. He should be comin' back later this morning."
"That's right," Caitlin replied. "I remember Sinj picked him up before we left to start the mission, but don't worry, String. It's not like I haven't had other things on my mind the past few hours."
You can say that again, String thought, relieved. Just then, he heard the CB radio crackle to life. "String? You there? What's going on?"
"Dom," Hawke said as he and Caitlin walked over to the radio.
"Yeah, we're here. Come on in, Dom," Hawke replied.
"Hi, Dom," Caitlin said as Hawke held the microphone to her lips, holding her with his other arm.
"Cait? You okay, sweetheart?" Something in Caitlin's voice told Dom something was different from when he saw her last, and he was concerned.
"I'm fine, Dom," Cait replied. "Everything's back to normal and I remember everything, and everyone," she added.
"Good to hear that," Dom said, and Cait and String could hear the relief in his voice. "Hey, I got somebody else here that wants to talk to you."
"Good to hear your voice, Sinj," Caitlin replied, smiling at her husband. "And I'm real happy that I recognize it. And I know you. Is Jimmy there with you?"
"Yeah, he and Le have been helping Dom around here today. Listen, I can come up there later with Jimmy..."
"What Saint John means is that we'll be up there later," Dom said after he snatched the microphone out of Saint John's hand. "All of us."
"We'll be waiting," Caitlin replied, snuggling into her husband's arms. "Well," she said, smiling up at String, "since we've got a few hours before Dom and Sinj come up here..."
"You read my mind, baby," String said, just before he captured her lips with his in a searingly passionate kiss—one of many they shared over the next few hours.
Dom arrived around dinner time with Saint John, Le, and Jimmy.
"Mom! You're okay!" Jimmy said as he launched himself into Caitlin's arms. Saint John had told him about his mother's injury, what he could tell anyway, and Jimmy had been concerned when he learned that Caitlin had lost her memory.
"Yeah, sweetie, I'm fine," Caitlin replied as she hugged her son. "I was a little—no, from what your dad tells me, I was a lot out of it—for a while, but now I'm back. And you need to clean your room, young man!" Saint John and String exchanged a knowing glance as Caitlin smiled at her son.
"Aw, Mom!" Jimmy shouted. "I was kinda hopin' you didn't remember that, but I'm just glad you're okay again." He gave Caitlin another short hug then went to his room.
"When did your memory come back, Cait?" Dom asked as he started dinner.
"Late last night," Caitlin said. "It started when I was remembering what happened the first time I flew in Airwolf, and String came from the guest room when I screamed. We talked a little bit about what I remembered, then, when he left me alone in our bed, everything came back," she finished.
"Well, I'm certainly glad that's over," Saint John said. "I hate to think what would've happened if your memory loss was permanent."
"Me too, Sinj. Me too," Caitlin answered him, smiling at String.
A few minutes later everyone was sitting around the dining room table enjoying Dom's spaghetti with marinara sauce, and plenty of garlic bread. "Aunt Cait?" Le asked. "Did you really forget everybody? Even me?"
"Yeah, Half-Pint," Caitlin replied, sadly. "I couldn't remember you, Dom, your dad, or even Jimmy and your Uncle String until late last night when everything came back. It really bothered me, not bein' able to remember my family like that."
"But, it's over now," String said, "and everybody's okay."
"Thank goodness," Saint John replied. "Guess Cait's not as hard-headed as you said she was, little brother," he teased String.
"Oh, she's plenty hard-headed, Sinj," String replied, winking at Cait, "but what she hit was a lot harder."
"Well, as long as it doesn't happen again," Saint John replied as everyone finished dinner.
A few hours later, Caitlin and String stood in each other's arms, watching Dom's helicopter leave the dock to take himself, Saint John, and Le back to Santini Air. Jimmy had already gone to sleep, so they were alone as they walked back into the cabin.
"String," Caitlin said as she started up the stairs to the sleeping loft, "you coming?"
"If that's what you want, Cait," he replied, moving towards her on the stairs. Caitlin closed the distance between them and grabbed him around the waist, pulling him close to her in another passionate, heated kiss.
When she separated them, once they had both caught their breath, she said, "Stringfellow Hawke, I've only got one thing to say to you—take me to bed, or lose me forever!" String laughed as he caught Caitlin up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the sleeping loft. As they began undressing each other, Caitlin said, "String, don't worry about what I said a minute ago. You're not gonna lose me—unless, of course, you do somethin' stupid and let me go. I just said that to get your attention. I actually heard it in a movie once, and I kinda liked it." She giggled, then continued, "I promise you—no matter what happens, I love you, Stringfellow Hawke. I will always love you."
"Well, then, I've got nothing to worry about—and, neither do you—because I'll never let you go, Cait. Never," String said, pulling her closer to him to emphasize his point. "And, I'll always love you too, Caitlin Hawke," String replied as he picked her up in his arms again and lay her on the bed, joining her a moment later. "Always," String said again. They made love long and slow, each allowing the other to savor every moment, until they were finally sated.
As she felt Hawke's body next to hers as she slipped into sleep, Caitlin relaxed in her husband's embrace and thought to herself, I sure hope I never go through that again. The look on String's face when he figured out that I couldn't remember him. I hated that. Almost as much as I hated his expression back at the Horn compound, when String thought he'd killed Dom. And just like I decided then, I'll do anything to keep from having to see it again, 'cause I never want to see that expression again. EVER. Then she realized something. String didn't make fun of the fact that I forgot our wedding day, and the day Jimmy was born, like I was worryin' that he would. Just another reason why I love him so danged much, I guess. And why I'll always love him. Sighing, she relaxed as she felt String pull her body tight against his own, and allowed sleep to overtake her.
As Hawke pulled Caitlin's body tight against his own, he thought to himself, I'm glad you're back, Cait. I—I dunno what I would've done without you. He relished in the feeling of her body tight against his own and sighed with relief as he felt sleep overtaking him. What's next? He wondered to himself. Whatever it is, we'll face it, together. Just like we always have. And just like we always will. He finally felt sleep closing in and completely claiming him as he closed his eyes, and pondered the future.