Notes: Wow, I've finally gotten to write something new. This is a companion piece to 'I'll Never Let You Go - - - John's Thoughts'. They can stand alone, but work better as a set. And the title wasn't meant to sound like 'Titanic' it just sorta does. Stop snickering, I'm serious. *g* You might find inaccuracies in my time line, I'm having to work by memory. Two things worth mentioning... One. Nathan is still with the VCTF in my reality. Two. Coop, uh, Coop who? Sorry, I didn't like him enough on the show to write about him now .*g* I've managed to stay up all night working on this because I just couldn't stop, so tell me what you think of this brainstorm okay? Please, I'm close to begging here. :-)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Cynthia Saunders, Sander/Moses Productions and NBC (anyone else??) They're not mine, I'm just playing with someone else's toys. I promise to return them. Hey, if they *were* mine, Sam and John would already be together... *g* Or at least there would be no new guy (Coop II: Bad Accent Boy, isn't it?) :-)
Sam began to stir when she thought she heard John say something. For a moment she was disoriented. The television was turned off and there was a blanket pulled over them. Slowly she realized that she must have dozed off during the movie. She shook her head to clear the sleepy haze from her mind and turned to look over at John.
She couldn't keep from smiling as she looked at his face. He almost looked like a little boy, lying with his head propped against the back of the couch. His eyes were closed, but his lips were slightly parted. She resisted the urge to kiss him in order to let him sleep.
She tried to remember what it was that had woken her up. It was then that she remembered hearing John's voice. 'I'll never let you go, either.' The whispered promise echoed through her mind. It reminded her of a promise she had once made to him. Again, she realized how grateful she was to have this man in her life. After Tom had been killed, she grew to fear love. Out of self-preservation she strove to never let herself love another again. Somehow with John she'd had no choice.
She had known she was feeling something for him for a while. Still, she fought her emotions. At the onset, the Hartwick case wasn't very different from any of the others. They had put in several long days at work trying to catch the serial strangler before he found another victim. The result had been her and John working together more and more closely.
When she had first met John Grant, she hardly gave him more than a second thought. She could admit he was attractive easily enough. In a neanderthal sort of way. But there was a glint of something else. Her profile that she presented him with so bluntly was an attempt at pushing him away. Although, she wasn't sure why she felt threatened.
Time had passed, and occasionally she was still taken aback by the friendship that developed between them. She would have never guessed he would become quite possibly her best friend. As they grew closer, she began to notice the feelings that had so spooked her in the beginning. She did her best to ignore the emotions that swelled within her heart when he was near, or even worse, in trouble.
She didn't see the arm that snaked out of the darkness to grab her as she helped search an abandoned building for the strangler. She felt a wire around her throat, and struggled to remain calm. She knew panicking wouldn't help anything. When she saw John approaching them she felt a sense of relief, it would be okay if they could work together.
She watched helplessly as John walked closer and closer to them, talking to the suspect. She could guess he was hoping to unnerve the guy. Suddenly, she felt the wire loosen and John grab her arm. She was propelled forward away from the suspect. In the time it took her to turn around and face her captor, he had managed to grab John.
Sam saw where her gun had landed when she was grabbed only moments earlier. She picked it up quickly, and turned to face the man who was now holding the wire around John's throat. Sam could see that John was having to fight to remain calm and breathe. Hearing the rest of the team approaching the commotion, she paid it little attention. Her world was centered around the man who'd just offered himself to save her.
She tried talking with Hartwick, to no avail. The longer she waited, the less time John had. Right before her eyes, she could see the wire cutting into his throat and his face beginning to turn a pale shade of blue. She was shaking, her stomach was knotted up and she couldn't breathe. Sam was nearly ecstatic when Bailey came in to stand beside her. As she watched, John's eyes slid closed and she thought her heart might break. John's body sagged against his captor, allowing Bailey the chance to fire with minimal risk.
Time seemed to slow down as she ran across the room to where John and the other man had fallen. Pulling his head into her lap, she began to stroke his forehead absent-mindedly. Her vision was clouding over because of the tears that were threatening in to fall from her eyes. When she saw his eyes open, her sigh of relief was audible.
"Why?" She whispered where only John could hear. When his eyes again slid shut she was forced to redouble her efforts not to cry. Sam didn't leave his side even when the paramedics arrived.
John awoke while he was being examined by the paramedics. The argument that ensued was so preposterous that had the situation not been so serious, Sam would have laughed. She couldn't believe he refused to go to the hospital against medical advice. Actually, when she thought about it, she could believe it.
After arguing with him for several minutes she gave up. She moved to stand off to the side of the activity, and watched him from a distance. Part of her was still in shock over what he had done. She was sure that her heart had stopped more than once earlier.
She felt guilty that he might have been seriously hurt because of her. And she felt scared of the emotions tumbling around in her heart. His actions had intensified her feelings for him, and it scared the hell out of her. The last she saw of him, he was walking away shaking his head. She watched until he was out of sight and headed back to the Command Center.
Sam had been staring at the same page of paper for ten minutes when she gave up. Although she knew the paperwork would have to be finished soon, she put it up and walked to Bailey's office. It had taken her only a few minutes to talk with Bailey about going home and leave.
In the car, her mind whirled continuously. The image of John in that monster's grasp had shaken her more than she cared to admit, even to herself. She knew that she needed to talk to John. Even though she had left work to go home, she realized suddenly that she had found her way to John's apartment instead.
Before she could lose her nerve, Sam hurried up to his apartment door and knocked. After a moment of silence, the door opened to reveal John standing there. Looking at him quickly, she took in his appearance. She noticed how good he looked in just a t-shirt and sweat pants, and she saw the bright red mark that threaded it way across his neck.
Sam went to sit down on his couch and heard rather than saw him hesitate and walk over to offer her a drink. When she shook her head 'no' he finally sat down. For a couple of moments, neither moved nor spoke. Finally, she found the resolve to speak. "John, I... I wanted, no I needed to know why. Why did you let him grab you like that?"
Taking a risk, she looked up to where her eyes could meet his. She could see his look of total incomprehension at her question. "Why? Why do you even need to ask? How could I have done anything else?"
Without meaning to, she found herself shaking her head 'no' during his answer. It didn't make any sense to her. What he had done went beyond... Her thoughts paused, and she attempted to voice what she was thinking. "No. What you did went beyond simply helping out a fellow agent. There were other ways you could have dealt with the situation. John... Your throat..." She had to fight not to shiver as she watched him reach up to touch the reminder of what he had endured. What he had gone through because of her.
"I had to do it." She barely heard the whispered response coming from his bowed head. When he raised his head, she was shaken by the emotion she saw in the glowing blue orbs. It was as it he was pleading with her to accept his motives. "It wasn't about me, don't you understand? I did what I had to do to keep the woman..."
Sam's heart constricted. She couldn't decide if he was about to tell her he loved her, or if it was mere wishful thinking. She had to know, no matter his answer. He had to know how she felt, no matter his response.
"John, today showed me something. Something I've been trying to deny. I can't describe how much you scared me. It was reckless, it was stupid. And it made me love you even more than I did. I didn't want to love you, John. I never wanted to leave myself that open again. I don't have a choice. I guess maybe I never did."
Sam wasn't sure how long John sat there, staring at her. The look on his face told of his shock. By the time he finally spoke, she was ready to beat a response out of him, good or bad. Her concern abated when he said, "I never imagined I'd hear you say that. Don't you see? That's why I had to help you today. I didn't care what happened to me. I love you. You were in danger, and I did what I had to do."
For a moment Sam simply sat there and looked at him. Slowly she felt tears fill her eyes. Emotionally she was doing cartwheels and somersaults. Her silent jubilation abated, however, when she watched as John got up and walked over to the window. Although she couldn't guess exactly what he was feeling, she had a good idea. She followed him over to the window and stood beside him. Placing her hand on his arm, she looked up at his profile. He turned his gaze on her, a brilliant smile playing on his lips, and her heart felt as if it were racing.
She moved into his offered embrace. Sam smiled into his chest when she felt John lay a kiss on the top of her head. Thoughts of the day's events crossed her mind briefly and she looked up at his throat. She felt him shudder when she glided her fingers along the red line that way highlighted in the moonlight. She whispered, "How do I ever thank you?" She watched as he opened his luminous blue eyes and looked into her own.
Sam felt a familiar moisture return to her eyes when he answered her. "Just love me, and let me love you. That's all I could ever want." Keeping her eyes locked with his, she wondered how she had ever been so lucky as to find this man.
Eventually she found her voice, responding, "Now that I have you, I'll never let you go." Running her hands through his hair, she leaned him to her in a gentle kiss.
Sam was moved from her memory when she felt John begin to awaken. She reached her hand up to cup his cheek after she saw his sleepy eyes attempt to focus on her. A drowsy smile played on his features when he looked at her.
Cuddling closer to him, she whispered, "I love you."
Holding her tightly to him, he replied, "I'm glad, 'cause I love you too." She had to giggle at the lopsided grin that he had on his face. "What?" He asked, his voice full of mock seriousness.
"Nothing," she answered. Sam felt as completely at peace as she'd known in a long time when he leaned down to kiss her. Moments later they pulled apart. Sam closed her eyes, a smile on her face. Soon, they were asleep in each others arms.
Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that stood by you. --- Irish Blessing