Burn Notice: I don't own it, I just like to play with it.

Takes place after Season 6. Michael and Maddie resolved their issues, so if you're expecting Maddie to be nasty to Michael, you'll be sorely disappointed.

A Little Fishing Expedition

By WritePassion

Virgil was back in town. Sam knew it before he walked through the back door of Maddie's house. The old Ford pickup parked at the curb was a dead giveaway for starters. That and Sam distinctly heard his voice filtering from the living room, followed by a giggle that could only come from Maddie. Listening to the sounds only made his heart heavier.

"Sam, is that you?"

He shouldn't have sighed so loudly.

Maddie hurried around the corner, through the dining room, and greeted him in the kitchen with a wide smile and arms opened even wider, a cigarette clamped between two fingers as usual. The sight of her brought tears to his eyes, and he hid them in the crook of her neck when he hugged her.

"It's good to see you again." She rocked him gently and rubbed his back. Her voice lowered and she added, "I'm sorry about Elsa."

"Thanks," he whispered back. Sam looked up and met Virgil's gaze. The poor guy didn't know what to do, so he stood in the doorway to the dining room with a beer in his hand, staring at Sam.

The embrace ended, but Maddie caressed the side of Sam's scruffy face with her hand. He'd lost weight in Panama during that month that he went missing with Michael, Fiona, and Jesse. Card told her they were dead, but she didn't believe him. He said a lot of things she didn't buy, and in the end, her instincts were right. Card was no longer a threat, Michael and his friends were finally on the right side of the CIA's graces, and they were free to do whatever they pleased.

"I made supper. Why don't you sit down, and I'll get it out of the oven?"

"Maddie, I'd rather just... just get some sleep."

Sam looked more rugged than he had when he left, and the latest turn of events probably didn't help. She knew one thing for certain: no matter how tired he felt, he needed to eat. Maddie was no stranger to the signs of depression, she knew how debilitating it could be, and she wasn't going to let him fall into that hole, not in her house. "Oh honey, come on. You're going to look like a refugee soon if you don't have something." With just enough tenderness and manipulation, she knew she could get him to surrender.

"Okay, maybe a little." Sam broke from her and moved toward the dining room.

"Long time no see, Sammy. Hey, you want a beer?" Virgil spoke with an uncomfortable grin on his face.

"Sure."

"Alright, you just sit down, I'll get it for ya." Virgil moved to the refrigerator and picked out a bottle while Maddie finished dinner preparations. He turned and closed the space between them, and he spoke low. "What's wrong with him, Maddie? What happened to his girlfriend?"

"I don't know. Before you showed up he called and said he needed a place to stay for awhile. I'm hoping it's just overnight, that maybe they had a fight or something."

Virgil had a line of sight with the laundry room, and he saw three pieces of luggage on the floor in front of the washer and dryer. He tapped her with his elbow and cocked his head in that direction. "It looks to me like it's permanent. Like she kicked him out."

Maddie's eyes took in the sight and she blinked. "Well, if that's the case, he's staying."

The way she said it, Virgil knew there would be no discussion. He nodded. "I'll go keep Sammy company while you finish up in here. Let me know if you need anything."

"Put out another place setting for Sam?"

"You got it, sweet thing." He kissed her cheek and delivered the beer to Sam in the dining room. "Here you go, Sammy. I'll be right back."

By the time Virgil returned with a plate and silverware, Sam almost finished the bottle. Virgil lay the plate and cutlery on the table in front of him. That close, he smelled the alcohol and suspected that his friend already had a head start even before he arrived.

"You might wanna go easy there, boy." Virgil grimaced.

"It doesn't matter."

"We've been friends a long time, Sammy. It's pretty obvious that something major happened with you and Elsa." He sat across from him and tried a reassuring smile. "Why don't you get it off your chest? Maybe talking about it will make you feel better, sort things out a little."

"There's nothing to sort out. Plain and simple, she dumped me, Virg. She told me she couldn't be with me anymore."

His wet eyes and downtrodden expression told Virgil he might lose it at any moment. "Why, Sammy?"

Glancing at his friend, a wry smile crossed his face as he said, "That's what she called me, you know, Sammy, when she was all lovey. But it must have been a lie." His fuzzy brain loosened his tongue and he began to ramble. "She said she loved me. Then Card told her I was dead, and in less than a month, she found somebody else." He let out a deep sigh and rested his elbows on the table. "Boy, was I wrong about her. To her I was just a dinner companion and a nice tumble in the sheets. She never loved me."

"Are you sure you didn't misunderstand her?"

He propped up his head on one fist. "Pretty hard to misunderstand when she says, 'Sam, I want you to leave. There's someone else in my life now, because I thought you were dead'." He took a long drag on his beer. "If she'd really loved me like I loved her, don't you think she would have waited until my body was found? Elsa's got enough money, she could have sent out an expedition to find me, but she didn't. You know why? Because she didn't really care." He finished the bottle and set it down so it made a resounding thunk on the table. "Didn't let any grass grow under her feet, that's for sure."

"She couldn't have picked worse timing," Madeline grumbled as she entered the room and set a couple of dishes on the trivets in the center of the table. "Michael, Fiona, Sam and Jesse just got back from Panama last week." She reached out and smoothed his hair like she used to do to Michael or Nate when they were kids and were hurting, and she patted his back before returning to the kitchen for more dishes.

"Yeah, and the CIA had us locked up all that time doing debrief." Sam ran a hand over his face in a useless attempt to wipe away the memory. "I just got back to the hotel this afternoon, and when I went to see Elsa, that's when she dropped the bomb."

"That's harsh. Seems like she could have let you down a little easier." Virgil said as he winced at the pain written on Sam's face. "Did you at least keep the Cadillac?"

The grieving man snorted. "Are you kidding? I cleared my stuff out of the hotel right after I left her office and dropped off my keys at the front desk, including the ones for the Caddy. Letting go of that car physically hurt, but keeping it... well, that would only make it worse. Everything else she gave me fit into a cardboard box that I dropped off at the desk before I walked out."

"I know this doesn't help right now, son, but trust me, you'll find somebody better than her some day." Virgil did his best to help, and Maddie smiled at Virgil and clasped his hand.

"Nah, I'm through with women, Virg. Too many headaches and heartaches for a lifetime." He got up, retrieved another beer from the fridge, and drank it with his meal. He didn't take much to eat, but he had enough to make Maddie happy. After dinner, Sam begged off dessert and went to the spare room, and in a short time he was asleep.

Virgil took his luggage and set it in the room, then helped Maddie clean up the kitchen.

"He's better off without her." Maddie murmured.

"I know, but until he realizes that, he's gonna be hurting. He's lucky he has you to come to." Virgil smiled, laid a hand on her shoulder, and kissed her cheek. "How about we go take a little stroll before bed time?"

"I was going to unpack Sam's things for him."

"Don't worry. He can do that himself in the morning." He took her hand and led her toward the back door. "Come on, Madeline, he'll be fine. Don't worry."

When Virgil got that spark in his eye and gave her that grin, she found him irresistible. He was right, though. Sam was asleep, and if he woke, he could take care of himself. He was a big boy. But yet when one of her kids hurt, she couldn't help but hurt for them. Sam, Fiona, and Jesse had all been adopted as children in her mind, and she would never stop caring for them as long as she lived.