A/N...It a little shorter than usual, but I'm happy with it. Hope you are too! Love you all!


Sam pulled into Maddie's driveway. He noticed that Michael had called a few times, but he let all the calls go to voicemail. He knew Michael was calling him to try and dissuade Sam from talking to Maddie, but it had to be done. Even if Michael unloaded what had been heavily laying on his heart, Sam knew Maddie still didn't know everything, only what Michael wanted her to know. All Sam knew was that Michael didn't deserve the treatment she was giving him.

"Maddie, you home?" Sam yelled as he walked into the living room.

Sticking her head out from the bedroom, Maddie said somberly "I was expecting you or Fiona to come. I'm actually surprised it wasn't Fiona."

"She's at home, taking care of Mikey. They've been locked away lately because he's been going through some stuff and they want to be alone." Sam said, trying to gauge Maddie's mood to see how best to approach her.

"They will get no interruptions from me. Whatever he is going through, those are his demons that he has to deal with. We talked and I know how he feels and he knows how I feel. Things ended ok. They aren't great, but they will be better in time. He told me everything and I know what he was going through. We both hurt one another." Maddie said softly, as she sat down at the dining room table and motioned for Sam to also sit.

Pulling out the chair at the head of the table, where Michael usually would sit when they gathered at Maddie's house, Sam began to speak. "You have hurt him, Maddie. I don't see how any kind of apology you give him will make up for it. You have no idea of the hell that boy has been though. I call him a boy, because the Michael that I just saw at the loft, isn't the same one who I met in Poland and have worked side by side with everyday for over six years. The Michael that I just saw was nervous and insecure. You have this ability to take the maybe one of the smartest men I know and reduce him to a scared boy in a matter of seconds."

Maddie rolled her eyes at Sam. "I do such thing. You are imagining that Sam. Maybe one too many mojitos today?"

Sam grimaced at her comment. "After coming here since Nate died, he comes back to the loft and either myself or poor Fiona has to build him back up into a man. As soon as he walks into the loft, he just sits in his damn green chair or goes to bed. He won't say a word. Eventually he can't think about it anymore and he ends up on the floor in tears because your cuts always hurt him the deepest. It happened after Michael was here yesterday. He broke down in the middle of the night because you placed too much blame on him and you attacked Fiona. Fiona shouldn't have to be comforting him. He should be taking care of her and you should be taking care of him. You should have taken care of him more when Fiona went to prison and especially when Nate died. Instead you cut him off and it broke him into a thousand pieces."

Shaking her head and her cigarette at Sam, Maddie said "I saw Michael after Fiona was taken into custody and he was fine."

Pointing a finger at the table, Sam explained "No, you weren't there the day she went to prison. Mikey saw her get arrested. He disappeared and no one could find him. I finally found him after I drove up and down each street. He had a letter from Fiona and his gun in the front seat with him. He was broken. If I hadn't gotten there sooner, he would have killed himself. At the end of that day, you should have called him. Even if he didn't answer you could have left a message. He needed to know you were there for him."

Sam avoided meeting Maddie's eyes. He could hear her inhale sharply and release a little gasp when Sam suggested Michael could have been suicidal. He decided to continue.

"You weren't there the first night when he went back to the loft and he just sat on the edge of the bed, holding onto her pillow for dear life. He alternated between deafening silence and these agonizing screams. When I finally got him to lay down in bed, he laid there and cried until he was so exhausted that he passed out. Do you know what its like to hear a grown man, a soldier, cry from someplace so deep inside that you know nothing you say or do will make it better? It breaks you too. I admit it, I cried with him that night too because no man should have to feel so alone or that much pain. Again, it would have helped him if you had been there Maddie."

"He had you, he was fine." Maddie mumbled.

"You weren't there for the fits of anger, rage and even hysteria. He turned over his workbench because he was so frustrated. I can barely move it and he flipped it in one move. The day Fiona got released from prison should have been the happiest day of Michael's life so far, but Nate screwed it up, just like he did to everything else he touched." Sam said, hoping Maddie would let him continue to speak.

"Do not bring Nate into this. I don't want to talk about Nate. Michael knows what he did was wrong and he accepts his blame. I don't know what you are trying to do here Sam, but I wish you would stop." Maddie begged in a loud voice.

Sam wasn't going to stop. He slammed his fist on the table making Maddie jump. "I'm damn well bringing Nate into this conversation. Michael told him to stand down. Nate never listened and would have spooked Anson if he kept up his antics. All he had to do was watch Anson and tell Mikey where he was heading. Instead, Nate wanted to please his brother. You instilled that into Nate. I think you made Nate feel like he had to make Mikey proud. Making it even worse, you make Mikey feel like crap because he didn't protect Nate, who never listened in the first place. They were always trying to please you, Maddie. You were the cause of a vicious little play that existed in your family. They were constantly battling for your love and attention." Pausing, Sam took a breath and exhaled slowly. "As much as my old man and my mom were always driving me to do better, to go farther in my life, I at least know they loved me unconditionally. Mikey can't say that about you and that makes me sad."

"Stop Sam, I get the point." Maddie said, trying to hide the tears in her eyes.

Ignoring Madeline's plea, Sam continued. "When Nate got killed, Jesse and I got Michael cleaned up and ready to come see you. He was a zombie. He told you about Nate and you kicked him out. He needed you to tell him that even though Nate was dead everything would be ok. The ride to get Fiona from jail was awful because he was just stuffing everything down inside from losing Nate and his visit here. We all knew he was going to break. You can't see your own brother get shot, your mother abandon you and not have a breakdown of some sort. Luckily he held it together until Fiona got in the car, then he let go of everything. The whole car ride home he cried while she held him. Fiona deserved a better homecoming than what she received. After everything she did to save your son's ass, she didn't deserve to be thrown into everything right away."

Maddie stammered "He didn't tell me and I had no idea how bad it all was."

"If you had talked to him, you would have known. If you had talked to him at the funeral, you would have known his heart was broken and that he was barely functioning. He's a good man and I hate the way you turn him inside out." Sam said sadly, finally finished with his speech.

"Its too late to fix things with all of us. Michael will be as distant as was before he got burned. I'm sure he told Fiona everything that went on here, so I don't think I'll be seeing much of her." mused Maddie.

Sam leaned forward and said "That's where you are wrong again. As mad as I am at you right now, I still want you, Mikey and Fiona to have some kind of relationship. Take the initiative. Call Mikey and Fi. Invite them out to lunch or have them come over for dinner. Do the things we used to do before all this ugliness came around. Don't wait for him to call you because he won't do it right away. The longer the wait, the bigger the gap and eventually it will be impossible to get close to them again. The ball is in your court."

"Michael and Fiona are lucky to have you taking care of them. I'll call him tomorrow." Maddie said.

Sam left Maddie's house and drove down the street. Once he was at the stop sign he called Elsa and told her everything that just happened.

"Sam, you are a true white knight. Come home and let the Queen reward you for being so galant." Elsa purred.

Smiling, Sam said "Sweetie, after today that sounds heavenly. I'll see you shortly." As he drove off to the hotel, he hoped Maddie held true to her word and would call Michael tomorrow but for the time being, he decided to just focus again on his little piece of heaven.