When she adjusts his bulletproof vest so it's less constricting, his hands are fisting at his sides. As she buttons his shirt and tells him to breathe with her, offering reassurance and steadiness, her hands linger on his shoulders in a reaffirming squeeze. She almost hugs him... but she doesn't.

When she breaks away to hand him his jacket and pack (and give a low-toned reminder about the pepper spray she slipped him) he almost reaches for her... but he can't.

As he walks toward the elevator bank and off to his first day of assignment, she almost tells him she loves him... but settles for a reassuring smile when he looks her way.

In the moments before the car arrives to take him down, he takes one last look at Sharon. Standing there, trying so hard to be calm for him. He almost says, "I love you." But he won't.

When the man casually flips those threatening pages in the park, Rusty's palms break into a slimy sweat. He fumbles to undo the connector for his wire, fighting his training to comply with the man's orders, developing tunnel vision to everything but the words your mom dies. He wants to scream for help... but he can't.

After everything that's happened, all she's put him through, she's still his mom and he's still in this to save her and this is the only way. Isn't it? The reason he'd blown up so much at Doctor Joe the week before when he'd referred to Sharon as Rusty's mother was because he's under a lot of stress with all this and he has a mother and Sharon's great but she could never take that place away. Even though she loves him, and has spent so much time fighting for him, and wants to keep him safe no matter what, and always tries to be there for him, even when he's pushing her away to cling to the memories of his mom.

They may have the same name, but the women in his life couldn't be more different. 'Mom' equals Sharon Beck, which is why he just calls the Captain 'Sharon'. You don't call moms by their first name. Sharon's just his guardian, and he's just her witness... even though he knows that's not true.

He's on his feet and the tunnel vision opens back up to a swirling world of potential threats. There are people everywhere and he's totally alone. Are those eyes really looking at him or is it just his panic? Who around him is there to help... and who is there to hurt? There's no time to think about this. He has to get out of here.

When he slides into the front seat of his car, shaking and scared, he has a split second to remember how ticked Amy would be that he didn't check the backseat before the gloved hand covers his mouth. As the cool cylinder of the gun barrel presses into his temple, his world constricts again to one single thought: Sharon, I'm sorry.

A/N: well, my first ever MC story. After that super tense cluster of moments, it just screamed "fic me!" so I did. Hope you liked it. Whether you did or not, let me know.