By Enola Jones

Jack looked up from untangling the lights that were going on the tree later. "You didn't have to come."

"You didn't have to call me," she said, wrapping the garland around the tree.

"Yeah, well, I didn't know who else to call," he admitted, his eyes straying to the young boy tucked in on the couch. His voice dropped to a whisper. "I don't know what I'm doing."

"Well, I do," she said, coming to sit beside him.

"You do, huh?"

"I do. You're loving that boy. You're giving him a chance for a wonderful life." She rubbed his back. "And giving yourself a second chance."

He nodded and whispered, "And there's no guns in the house this time. Never."

"Good!" She hugged him one-armed.

"I'm not trying to replace Charlie."

"I know you're not," she assured him. "He needs you."

"Yeah," he said, meeting her eyes. "He does." After a moment, he whispered, "I never stopped loving you, Sara."

Her smile turned sad and she kissed his temple. "And I never stopped loving you. We just.... got lost."

He nodded and asked softly, "So. Where do we go from here?"

Sara nodded. "I help you learn to do what you need to do and then we go from there."

"And if I want you to stay?"

She met his eyes, startled by the raw honesty and unfamiliar vulnerability there. And she felt herself respond from the depths of her soul.

"Jack, if you ask me to stay and if that boy wants me to then I'll stay."

He nodded, then they gasped together as her hand was suddenly grasped by little fingers.

They looked down to find Daniel awake and looking at them with that piercing cobalt gaze that little children could accomplish with no real effort. The one that Jack had taken to privately calling "Danny's Bullshit Metre".

"Hello, Danny," Sara smiled, giving his fingers a gentle squeeze. "Sleep well?"

He nodded, and squeezed her fingers in reply. He looked at them both and said two words loud and clear.


Sara's eyes filled with tears as she turned back to Jack and saw the same aching love in his eyes that was in Danny's. That said everything that words couldn't.

And that was the instant Sara knew. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

She'd stay.


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