Safe From The Storm

by Kalynn

I would love feedback, especially since I'm new to this! *g*
Rating: PG
Keywords: SJR
Spoilers: None
Notes: I'm still new to this, so I hope you like it. 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?) :-)

Lightning flickered across the sky, casting odd shadows through the room. John couldn't help but flinch, he had always hated storms. Not that he would ever admit to it. Trying to shrug off his unease, he closed the blinds over the main window in his apartment.

John had gone into the kitchen to get a drink when he heard a knock on the front door. When he opened the door, he was taken aback to see a soaked Sam standing there. He waved her in with a slightly confused look on his face. John helped her shrug out of her coat before either spoke.

"Hey. What's up?" He asked. She held up her hands and he noticed the sack she was carrying under her coat.

"I brought some take out, thought we could hang out or something," she said with a sly grin. His face spoke of disbelief, but a smile slowly appeared. They went into the kitchen and split up the Chinese food between them and moved into the living room.

The conversation was leisurely, each enjoying the other's company. Suddenly, a loud clap of thunder rumbled across the sky. John tried to hide his instinctive flinch, and Sam tried to hide that she had noticed. The last thing she wanted was for him to know the real reason she was there.

During a case a couple of months before, they had been camped out in a hotel room working on a lead when a fierce thunderstorm had broken out. She knew John would never admit to being afraid of anything, especially the weather, but she had noticed the way he had tensed up. Thus, when she had seen that the weather was going to be particularly bad that evening she had formed a plan.

Throughout the evening, John couldn't believe how he managed to tune out the storm. Somehow, just sitting and talking with Sam made it easy to forget the thunder and lightning that usually disturbed him. He knew why storms bothered him so much. When he had been little, he had been home alone during a rough storm. He had been sitting in a large panel window watching the lightning as it painted pictures across the sky when a tree in the front yard had been hit.

The next thing the seven-year-old knew, he was wet and pinned under a limb. John didn't know how long he was stuck there, scared and alone. He managed to claw his way out eventually, but not before having been out among the lightning and thunder for many, many minutes. In his mind it had felt like forever.

After he had grown up, he tried to hide his nervousness whenever the skies darkened. He suspected that Sam had noticed at some point and that was why she chose to visit. Still, he wasn't one to admit any weakness and concentrated on enjoying spending time with her. He always looked forward to anytime he could spend with her alone, even though it made his feelings for her harder to ignore.

He was falling in love with her. He was pretty sure that he had been falling in love with her for a long time. The way she had went out of her way to make him feel safe from a thunderstorm warmed his heart. There hadn't been anyone that would do something like that for him since his mother had died. One of the qualities he loved most in Sam was one the two women shared, their compassion.

Sam had noticed John growing more and more quiet as the evening had progressed. The storm outside had died down significantly, so she was at a loss to explain his sudden melancholy. Dinner had long grown cold when she mustered the courage to bring up the subject.

"John, what's troubling you?" Her blue eyes spoke of understanding with their warmth, and he longed to confess his heart and soul and drown within the blue depths. Fleetingly he wondered what it would be like to take her in his arms and feel her lips on his own. Sadly, he conceded it would never be possible to find out.

As their friendship had deepened, he had grown certain of two things. One, he wasn't her type. Two, even if he were, he didn't deserve her, or so he believed. He had no way of knowing that Sam's concern was based on friendship, true; but there was something else there.

Late at night, when sleep was elusive, she would allow her heart to admit what it was feeling. Love was a feeling she hadn't known since Tom had been torn away from her. At the time, she believed she could never feel that way for any man again. Years later, her heart wasn't as dead as she'd feared. She once again knew the familiar longings of love. She loved John, everything about him.

For a moment both were lost in thought, neither knowing how their thoughts mirrored each other's so closely. Every once in a while, they seemed to work in tandem, matching each other step for step. This night was no exception.

John moved to sit closer to Sam on the couch, their faces barely a foot apart. He felt as if they were playing an elaborate game of poker, and he as about to lay his cards on the table. He could admit how he felt, he convinced himself. It was better the uncertainty of one day asking 'what if?' Ten minutes earlier he had been determined to never admit his feelings, but he changed his mind. Consequences could be dealt with tomorrow.

His move to sit closer to her startled Sam. When she had asked what was bothering him, she mostly expected him to talk about his problem with thunderstorms. She believed that if he had no feelings for her, he would assume that she was referring to the weather. With his eyes mere inches from her own, she had to force herself to breath. It would be so easy to just reach out and run her hand through his dark hair, or graze his lips with her own.

She was startled out of her jumbled thoughts when he broke the silence that had surrounded them in the darkened apartment. "Sam, there's something... something that I nee to tell you. Please don't take it the wrong way, but I..."

He was interrupted when she stilled his lips with her fingertips. Her heart was constricting, she was walking the fine line between elation and despair. She feared his next sentence might bring the words 'I love you' or the complete opposite. She stilled her nerves and spoke in a hushed whisper. "No, before you say anything. I want you to know. No, I need you to know how I feel." Her words were becoming rushed, and her eyes searched his for any signs of, well, anything. "I don't know how you feel about me, but I have to tell you that I love you. I've fought my feelings for so long, but I don't want to wake up ten years from now and wonder 'what if?'"

John was in shock. His head was spinning and he felt as if he might pass out. She had spoken the same words he had intended to. He'd never dared dream that she might love him in return. His confession would have been a selfish declaration. He forced himself to blink, his vision was clouding over making it harder to see the beautiful woman that had just declared her love for him.

Sam was growing concerned when John managed to whisper, "You took my line." He could see tears gather in her eyes as they both smiled. A moment later he continued talking. "How could you not know how I feel? I love you so much, I always have." She raised her hand to cup his cheek, rubbing circles with her thumb as she listened to his words. Slowly, she pulled him to her. Their lips met softly at first, then with increasing urgency. Pulling apart, they leaned back onto the couch entwined in each other's arms. She rested her head on his chest, and he placed his arm around her shoulder.

Neither moved nor spoke for several minutes. Curiosity finally got the better of Sam and she couldn't help but ask, "John, you never said, why do storms upset you so much?"

She heard him take a deep breath before he replied. "It's stupid, really. Just something that happened when I was a little kid." He hoped she would leave it at that, but somehow he knew better.

Turning to face him she asked, "Seriously, what happened? I've seen you face killers of all kinds and not flinch. Why does lightning and thunder frighten you so?"

"It's just," he paused. Looking within her eyes, again he could only find compassion and acceptance. No matter how embarrassed he might feel, for once he felt better about admitting his feelings. Over the next several minutes he related the story of when he was seven. Instead of the laughter and rebuttal he usually received, Sam only reacted with concern. Concern for the little boy who once was, and the man he became.

Again resting her head on his chest, she whispered, "Don't worry. I'll keep you safe from the storm."

In the dark, he smiled as a single tear trickled down his cheek at his newfound happiness.


Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that stood by you.     --- Irish Blessing

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