An Unexpected Love

 

Autor: anmodo

 

Summary – A foe of Danny's starts to fall for him . D/OFC relationship, all characters present.

Spoilers – Risen, Clare De Lune, Legacy

Disclaimer – I’m just borrowing the wonderful WAT characters.

 

 

Court House - New York City

ADA Kathryn Kelly was late for work again. Court was starting in twenty minutes, and she barely had time to prep her first witnesses. As she stepped off the elevator, she noticed her first two witnesses standing outside the courtroom door. Martin Fitzgerald was casually leaning against the wall, while his fellow agent, Danny Taylor was pacing impatiently. Kathryn's neck immediately grew hot as she met Danny's frustrated gaze. As she approached them, Danny immediately lashed out, "How nice of you to join us. You did say 8:15, right?"

Kathryn and Danny had somewhat of a complicated professional history. Danny testified in her first big case as an ADA. While testifying on cross-examination, the defense attorney accused Danny of coercing the defendant into confessing. Danny immediately became defensive while testifying and lost his temper, which was exactly what the attorney wanted the jury to see. Instead of waiting for a verdict, Kathryn decided to settle. The defendant, who kidnapped his neighbor's wife, agreed to do 15 years instead of the 25 to life he would have received on a guilty verdict. Danny and the team found the woman alive and relatively unharmed. Kathryn was livid at Danny for forcing her to settle. Danny was just as livid with her for settling. He thought their case was strong enough to take to the jury. From that point on, their relationship had always been icy to say the least. And that wasn't any different on this morning.

Kathryn finally just smiled and replied, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience gentlemen. But I think we have enough time to go over your testimony. In fact, I think I have enough background from your depositions. Martin, I'd like you to testify first, if that's OK."

"That's fine," Martin replied.

"That's all your going to say? We drag our asses down here 45 minutes before we have to be here, and that's it? We are in the middle of a case, you know. Or does the world just revolve around you?" Danny interjected with his voice rising.

Kathryn sighed, "Look, I said I was sorry. OK? I'll have you out of here in less than an hour."

Martin intervened as the two were staring each other down. "Don't worry about it. It's fine. Let's go."

Danny stayed out in the hall as Martin and Kathryn went into the courtroom. Thirty minutes later the doors opened and people filtered out of the courtroom. Martin came out and addressed Danny with hesitation, "Listen, the ADA says she has enough with my testimony so…"

"What? She doesn't need me to testify?" Danny erupted. "She did this on purpose. I think she gets actual enjoyment out of pissing me off. Unbelievable…"

Martin laughed at Danny's frustration, "Danny, we were subpoenaed. We had to be here. I don't think she has it in for you."

"See that is where you are wrong. She hasn't liked me since the Sanders case three years ago. She settled, and she shouldn't have. I think I need to let her know…."

"Danny, let it go. It's not a big deal, and we have to get back. John Livingston is still missing."

"I know. I know. I'm just going to talk to her. Why don't you get the car, and call Jack. See where he wants us. I'll meet you down there in ten."

Martin shook his head knowing he wasn't going to change Danny's mind. "Fine. Don't be too hard on her. She is just doing her job."

"Yeah, right," Danny replied skeptically.

As Martin headed toward the elevators, Danny walked down the hall to find ADA Kelly. He found her in a conference room talking to Jimmy Wilkens. Jimmy was the star witness in the kidnapping case. He saw the defendant, Landon Brooks, take his sister from a park. Not wanting to interrupt, Danny listened to ADA Kelly plead with the nine year old boy.

"Jimmy, we really need you to tell the truth up there. Just look at me and tell me what happened."

"But he'll be there. What if he doesn't go to jail? He'll kill me if I talk."

"Jimmy, your sister needs you. She is too scared to speak for herself."

"I can't…" Jimmy started to cry. Jimmy's mother embraced him as ADA Kelly stepped away.

As Jimmy's mother comforted her son, she looked up and saw Danny. "Agent Taylor?"

"Hi, Mrs. Wilkens."

Kathryn noticed the sense of relief that came over Mrs. Wilken's face when she saw Danny. Mrs. Wilkens then said to Jimmy, "Wait here a second. I want to talk to Agent Taylor and Ms. Kelly."

Danny and Kathryn followed Mrs. Wilkens into the hall. Mrs. Wilkens stated, "Agent Taylor, you need to talk to him."

Kathryn interrupted, "I don't think that is necessary. I will get through to him. He was fine when we went over his testimony yesterday."

"When our little girl was missing, Agent Taylor was the only one who could get Jimmy to talk. He was so scared. You remember, Agent Taylor, don't you?"

"Of course, ma'am. I remember. I'd be happy to talk to him, if it's OK with the ADA," Danny glanced at Kathryn with a slight smirk.

"Of course, I'll try anything."

They all walked back into the room. Danny approached Jimmy with a reassuring smile, "Hey buddy, do you remember me?"

"Yeah…Agent Taylor, right? You still a Mets fan?"

Danny laughed and nodded, "All the way. They keep breaking our hearts. Am I right?"

Jimmy smiled, "Yeah…I'm thinking about rooting for the Yankees."

"Don't even think about going to the dark side. We'll have to talk more about that later. Right now, I need to talk to you about testifying."

"I can't, Agent Taylor…"

"Call me Danny, OK." Danny said as sat down next to Jimmy. "Look, I know it is scary. But I also know that you are one tough kid. You told me what I needed to know to find your sister. What you did was so heroic, Jimmy. And we found her, and she is OK because of you. Now you need to help her one more time. You just need to tell Ms. Kelly what you saw."

"But he'll be there."

"Yes, he will. But he can't hurt you. I won't let him hurt you. I promise."

"Can you stay here with me?"

"I can't. Someone else is missing, and I have to get back to work. Do you understand?"

Jimmy nodded.

"But listen, I'm going to give you my card. My cell phone is on it. Just call me as soon as you're finished, OK?"

Jimmy took the card.

"Jimmy, just talk to Ms. Kelly. And when the other lawyer asks you questions, just tell the truth. You can do this. I have faith in you."

Kathryn stood there amazed at how fast Danny was able to turn Jimmy around. He was so gentle with him. The ego that was so evident an hour ago was completely gone. Kathryn felt guilty for giving him such a hard time. She knew before the trial that she only needed one of the agents to testify. She knew that she would get to Danny by making him wait, and then not using him at all.

Danny stood up as Mrs. Wilkens thanked him. As Kathryn was watching Danny say goodbye to Jimmy, the bailiff came in to tell them that the recess was over. Danny walked out before Kathryn could say anything to him. He quickly walked down the hall to the elevator before she could catch him.

Later the same day

Kathryn returned to her office very pleased with her day in court. Jimmy Wilkens did a great job with his testimony, and the judge turned the case over to the jury. If all goes well, she would have another guilty verdict by tomorrow.

"Hey, Shelly, any messages?" Kathryn asked.

"Nothing urgent," Shelly, one of the office paralegals replied. "So, judging by the smile, I guess court went well?"

"You could say that. Jimmy Wilkens did great."

"How about the hot FBI agents?"

"What?" asked Kathryn with an amused smile.

"You can't even tell me you haven't noticed. Those two guys are hot. My heart skipped a beat when I got to sit in on their depositions."

"Well, Shelly, I'm a professional so I haven't noticed. But, to answer your question, Agent Fitzgerald testified. He was fine."

"Me, personally, I think I like Taylor more," Shelly continued ignoring her answer. "Fitzgerald is hot in a pretty boy sort of way, but something about Danny Taylor just smolders, you know?"

"No, I don't. In fact, Agent Taylor, more often than not, just gets on my last nerve."

"Really?"

"Yes. He's egotistical. He always has to be right. He tries to use his charm to get what he wants. He's quite aggravating."

"Sounds like you think about him a lot."

Kathryn sighed, "Please, Shelly, I don't think about him. I'm making an observation."

"Right," answered Shelly. "All I'm saying is that they must put something in the water at the FBI attract those fine men."

Kathryn just giggled at that. She wouldn't admit it to Shelly, but she hadn't been able to get Danny out of her head all day, especially after his talk with Jimmy. Kathryn tried to convince herself that it wasn't that she was attracted to him. She was just touched by his show of sensitivity. She really didn't think he was capable of that.

Two days later

Kathryn rode up the elevator at the Federal building. She exited the elevator on the Violent Crimes Task Force floor. It was late, after 8 p.m., but the security guard in the lobby told her that the person she was looking for hadn't signed out yet. As she walked down the hall, she saw Jack Malone turn the light out in his office and shut the door. "Agent Malone?"

"Kathryn, good to see you. How many times have I told you to call me Jack? What brings you here so late?" Jack asked with a puzzled expression.

"Um…well…I actually have some good news for you. We got a guilty verdict in the Wilkens case. I just wanted to thank you for all the work your team did."

"Well that is good to hear. You didn't have to come down here at such a late hour, but it's nice to hear especially after a day like today."

"Yeah, I saw the news. I'm sorry."

Earlier in the day, Danny and Samantha found their missing person, John Livingston, in a motel room. He got very drunk and shot himself in the head. Apparently, his life had spiraled out of control as his wife left him and he lost his job. He started drinking after years of being sober, got depressed and just gave up on life.

Jack, still a little puzzled by why she was there, asked, "Well I was just heading out. Can I walk you down?"

"Um…actually…. I was hoping to talk to Agent Taylor. Security said he was still here, but maybe I missed him? It's not big deal. He just helped me get Jimmy Wilkens to testify. I just wanted to thank him. But if he's not here…then I'll just…"

"No, he's probably still here," Jack said as he walked to the windows. He then pointed to the bullpen where Danny was intently focused on some paperwork.

"He looks busy. This can wait…or I can just call him. It was silly to come down here."

"No, I think he would probably appreciate hearing it, and trust me, we're always up for a diversion from paperwork. Thanks for stopping by. I'll…uh…see you later," Jack said as he walked toward the elevator with a sly smile.

Kathryn just stood in the doorway and watched Danny for a few minutes. He looked different than the person she saw two days ago. He looked almost empty. He had stopped doing the paper work and was now just staring off into space. Kathryn almost didn't want to interrupt his thoughts. His dark eyes looked so distant and pained. But she finally summoned the courage to approach him.

She didn't have to say anything. Hearing the click of her heels brought Danny out of his thoughts. He looked up, and with a very surprised expression slightly smirked, "Hey."

Kathryn saw his look of confusion, "Hi…I uh…Jack said that it was OK to come in. Um…" Kathryn was now speechless.

"What can I do for you?" asked Danny with a wary expression.

"Nothing. I didn't get a chance to say thank you the other day. And I wanted to let you know that we got a guilty verdict. Thanks in large part to you."

"Yeah, I heard. Jimmy called and left me a message. He was pretty happy about it. But I didn't have much to do with it."

"Well, you went above and beyond and I really didn't give you any reason to do it."

"I didn't do for you. I did it for the kid," Danny said blankly.

For some reason, those words stung Kathryn, but she replied in almost a whisper, "I know."

"Well…thanks…for stopping by," Danny said awkwardly.

Kathryn just nodded, and started to back away, but something in her couldn't just go. "Uh…listen, I know that things have been strained between us, and maybe I misjudged you. So, I am sorry for always giving you such a hard time. I know that you are just doing your job. I just wanted to tell you that, and I wanted to maybe ask you…" Kathryn hesitated.

Danny stood up slowly as she spoke, and folded his arms. Her stammering was amusing him. "Ask me what?"

"Maybe to thank you, I could buy you a drink or something…but maybe some other time. I mean obviously you've had a hard day, and I heard your case ended badly. So I understand if you don't want to. I mean...it's fine. I'll just go." Kathryn turned and started to walk away.

Danny was smiling now. He walked toward her and reached out to slightly touch her arm. "Hey, don't I get a chance to answer?" Kathryn turned around to face him. "I don't really want to get a drink…."

"Fine…I understand…"

"But, we could grab dinner. I haven't eaten all day. I'm starving."

Kathryn looked up at Danny and smiled while slight embarrassment. "That sounds good."

"Let me get my coat and we'll go."

Danny and Kathryn ended up at a little Italian restaurant not far from the FederalBuilding. They sat at a quiet, candlelit booth towards the back of the restaurant. Kathryn was struck by how romantic the setting felt, but Danny quickly diffused that thought, "This place has the best eggplant parm in the city. I get takeout from here at least once a week."

"Sounds good," Kathryn said a little nervously. She had a feeling she was going to need a drink to get through this. When the waitress came to the table, Kathryn asked Danny, "Do you want to share a bottle of white?"

"No, thanks. But you go ahead. I'll just have a mineral water."

"OK…" Kathryn said hesitantly. "I'll just take a glass then."

The waitress nodded and left with their drink order.

"Not a big drinker?" Kathryn asked curiously.

"Not a drinker at all," Danny replied matter-of-factly.

"Oh…I don't really drink that much…I mean…just to unwind. You know?"

"Yeah, I understand, believe me."

"So is it like a healthy choice for you? Or…"

Danny cut her off and smiled, "It's nothing. I'm just high on life…can't you tell?"

Kathryn laughed, "Right."

They ordered their dinners, and enjoyed polite conversation. They talked about the Wilkens case, and Jimmy. Finally, Kathryn asked about the Missing Persons case Danny worked on today, "I'm sorry about today. John Livingston? Was that his name?"

"Yep, that was him."

"Is it harder when you find out it isn't foul play?"

"Sometimes," Danny replied quietly.

"I would imagine. I mean obviously he didn't want to be found or found alive."

"That's not necessarily true. He could have offed himself in the privacy of his own home, or he could have done it front of the EmpireStateBuilding. But he chose to run away first. I think…I think he wanted to be found. He wanted to know someone cared enough to call the police. He wanted to know he wasn't alone. We just didn't find him in time."

Kathryn watched Danny as he spoke. It was like he wasn't talking to her, but to himself. She saw the empty look again that he had in the office earlier. "That must be so hard. I can't imagine."

With that, Danny looked at her and tried to re-engage, "Well, I'm sure you see an awful lot of bad things as well."

"Yeah, I guess I do. But, it's different. I get so caught up in winning that sometimes I forget they are real people. It all becomes about how strong the evidence is. I like to win, in case you hadn't noticed."

Danny smiled, "I think you know I like to win, too. It's not that different. I've been doing this for a while now. I have to try to do the same thing. I try to make it about putting the clues together, and finding the answers. It's gets much harder if you find yourself connecting with the victim or even the family."

"But you always want to find them alive," Kathryn stated in almost a whisper.

Danny nodded curiously, "Of course."

"Lately, I've had these thoughts….awful thoughts….about how much easier a case would be if I had a body…if I had DNA. Victims and witnesses say the wrong things. They get confused, but physical evidence doesn't lie," Kathryn looked down realizing how dark her statement was. "Your opinion of me probably just gets lower and lower."

Danny shook his head, "Who I am to judge? I'm the kind of witness who makes your case difficult to win."

Kathryn smiled remembering their contentious first meeting, "That's not true. You are just passionate about what you do. You care. There's nothing wrong with that."

They were looking into each other's eyes now. He had the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. There was something so youthful and sad in them.

The waitress came over and broke their stare. She asked if they were ready for the check. Danny replied, "Yes, we're ready." Danny immediately took the check from the table.

"Hey, I thought I was taking you out," Kathryn said playfully.

"You can get the next one," Danny replied as he put money on the table, "You ready to go?"

"Sure." They rose from the table and made their way to the front of the restaurant. Danny gently guided her by placing his hand on the small of her back. It was only there for a moment, but Kathryn felt weak in the knees all the same.

As they walked out the front door, Danny asked, "Which way are you?"

"I actually just live a couple of blocks that way." Kathryn pointed to the right.

"Then I'll walk you," Danny said as he started down the sidewalk.

"Wait…you…uh…you don't have to. I mean I don't want you to go out of your way."

"No problem, I'll just hop on the subway after I get you home. I'm just two stops from here."

"OK. Thanks. And thanks for dinner," Kathryn added as they started walking to her apartment. "I had a really nice time."

"Me, too. All things considered," Danny replied with a smile.

"What does that mean?"

"Well, I thought you hated me. I actually thought you got enjoyment from making my life difficult."

"I never hated you. I just found you somewhat challenging."

"Yeah…well…you are not the first. So we are starting tonight with a clean slate, right?"

Kathryn nodded, "Absolutely. I would really like that."

"Good."

They walked in silence for another block, and then Kathryn stopped in front of a brownstone, "This is me." She looked up at Danny and smiled. She followed as he walked up the stairs to her front door. He looked down at her, and she wished that she had to courage to kiss him. But she had never been the type to make the first move.

Danny finally said, "Well, I guess I'll see you later."

"OK. Thanks again for everything…especially for the help with Jimmy."

"My pleasure," Danny replied as he did a mock bow.

Kathryn unlocked the door and started to walk in as Danny started toward the stairs, "Danny?"

"Yeah?" asked Danny looking back.

Kathryn let the door close with her back against it. "I…uh…I don't…"

Danny started to walk back toward her. "You OK?"

"I'm not sure," she replied in almost a whisper as she slowly reached out to touch his tie.

Danny looked down at her hand as it rested on his chest. Then he looked into her clear blue eyes, and was surprised to see the desire in them.

Kathryn was starting to feel silly. Her mind started to race. What if he didn't have any interest in her at all? What if he was just being nice to her? But then she saw that he was smiling, and starting to lean in. He lightly brushed his lips against hers. She moved her hand from his chest to his neck to pull him back down. He started to kiss her slowly and gently. He guided her from the door to the sidewall of her front entrance. It was darker there, and little more private than the lighted doorway.

As she responded to him, Danny deepened the kiss and pulled her closer to him. He ran his hands through her blond hair. Then he let them roam down her back. Kathryn moved her hands under Danny's suit coat. She felt the muscles on his lean back. Danny started to kiss her neck as his hand slipped under her blouse. He just let his hand rest against her stomach as he pushed her gently against the wall. There was now no space between them. She could feel the heat radiating from his body. It overwhelmed her. The feel of his hands on her skin made her moan with breathless pleasure.

Danny started to kiss her on her lips again, but then finally broke from her and rested his forehead against hers. "I should probably go," he whispered.

Kathryn nodded, but didn't let him go.

Danny started to pull away, but Kathryn grabbed his hand, "Do you…do you want to come up?" She'd never asked any man to sleep with her before. Certainly, not someone she barely knew. But she had also never felt so needy before. She felt like she physically needed him.

Danny finally just nodded, and let her lead him inside and up to her apartment. Her apartment was spacious, and very well decorated. It was very well put-together, just like her. "Nice place."

Kathryn put her keys and purse down, and looked back at Danny who was still standing in the open doorway. "Thanks. Come in."

Kathryn was now nervous. Especially since Danny didn't seem nervous at all as he stood there surveying his surroundings.

"Do you want anything…a drink, or I mean a coffee?" she stammered remembering that he doesn't drink.

Danny just looked at her up and down. "No, I'm good," he replied in one of the sexiest voices she had ever heard.

And now, Kathryn felt completely unprepared. She wasn't sure what she was thinking or what she wanted. All she knew was that she didn't want him to leave. And then Danny made it easy for her. He walked toward her and gently caressed her cheek. Then they started kissing again as she closed and locked the door.

Before she even knew what was happening, Danny had her in her bedroom. She wasn't sure how he knew where it was, or how she was already half-undressed. Everything was like a dream. And then he gently lowered her to the bed while still kissing her passionately. He was moving above her in complete control, but Kathryn finally was able to think a rational thought when he moved away from her for a moment to finish undressing and to put his gun and cell phone on the nightstand. "Danny?"

"Yeah," he whispered as he lay down next to her lightly kissing her shoulder.

"Do you have…um…I don't have…."

"I have a condom. Don't worry."

"OK…good…uh…," Kathryn was nervous again.

Danny rolled so he was hovering above her. He kissed her again, and looked into her eyes, "You are so beautiful. I've thought that since I first met you. If you didn't drive me so crazy, I probably would have asked you out a lot sooner."

Kathryn laughed as he tried to put her at ease. "I want you…I want you to know that I don't usually do this."

"I know," Danny whispered.

"Is it that obvious?"

"No, it's….look…I like you and I want this. But we don't have to go through with it tonight. If you aren't ready, it's OK. I didn't expect this to happen when you walked into the office tonight."

Kathryn put her hand on his stubbled face, and traced a finger across his lips. Then she arched up to kiss him. They didn't say anything else to each other. They had sex, and after Kathryn felt a sense of fulfillment that she never felt before as she lay curled against Danny's stomach.

The next morning the fulfillment turned to dread as she reached over and found only a pillow. The apartment was silent. The bathroom door was open. It was obvious that Danny was gone. She took the pillow in her arms and held it close to her cheek. It smelled like him – clean and masculine. She still felt his presence all around her and inside of her. She was mentally chastising herself for getting so caught up in him. She wasn't even sure what it was that made him so attractive besides the obvious. She'd been out with attractive men before, but she never felt compelled to sleep with them. It was his eyes, his warmth, his charm….she thought. But it was also obvious that it wasn't the first time he had been invited to spend the night after a date….which they weren't even on a date so that made it worse. So much worse. Kathryn thought that he must have humored her because she seemed so needy. She would probably never hear from him again.

Kathryn somehow gathered the strength to make it to the bathroom and into the shower. As the let the water beat down on her, she tried to force the images from the night before from her brain. She wanted to regret it and to chalk it up as a mistake. But everything about it felt too good for that.

She made it to work that morning. Her morning was spent in court listening to the defense's pre-trial motions. And all she could think of was Danny's face, his hands, his body. She tried to shake herself from the thoughts after the judge asked her a question, and she had no idea how to respond. She somehow muddled through. When she returned to her office, she asked Shelly hopefully, "Any messages?"

"Nope, not a one."

Kathryn slumped down in her desk, and ran a hand through her blonde hair. And then she thought about Danny playing with her hair as she lay against his chest. He did that until she fell asleep.

"What's up with you?" asked Shelly.

"Nothing….nothing….nothing."

"Oh come on. You look a little flushed. Did you get enough sleep last night?"

"I don't know. It doesn't matter," Kathryn replied as she laid her head down on her desk.

Shelly laid her head down to look in Kathryn's eyes, "Oh my gosh. You had sex."

"What?" Kathryn responded defensively as she quickly lifted her head up.

"You had sex last night. I didn't even know you were dating anyone."

"How can you tell? Do you think everyone can tell?" Kathryn asked as she reached for a mirror.

"No one else can tell. I promise. I just know you. You have this satisfied yet totally freaked out look about you."

"Yep. That about sums it up. I'm a whore…that's what I am. What was I thinking?"

"So it wasn't a date….you had a one-night stand?"

"NO…at least I didn't think it was a one-night stand until he was gone this morning when I woke up."

"Oh, poor thing. Well, who is the mystery man?"

"You won't believe it."

"Try me."

"Danny Taylor."

Shelly let out a yelp and did a little victory dance. "I knew it. I knew it. I knew you had a thing for him. You have to tell me everything. EVERYTHING."

"Shel – I'm not feeling particularly good about it right now. I mean it was good…it was better than good…it was great, but the fact remains I slept with him and I don't even know where he lives. I don't know where he went to school or who his family is. He doesn't know anything about me…."

Shelly shook her head, "OK, let's back up. 'It was great'. What was great about it?"

"Shelly…" Kathryn said with a scowl.

"No, I'm serious. When's the last time you really had a good time with someone? Don't worry about the right or wrong of it. When's the last time you just did something for yourself?"

"It's been a while. Honestly, I haven't been with anyone since I broke it off with Richard two years ago. We were together for three years, and he was pretty much the only guy I ever…you know."

"So last night, Danny was the second guy."

"Yes," Kathryn replied sheepishly.

"Well then you were long overdue. And you said things weren't that great with Richard, right?"

"I never really understood the big deal about sex when I was with him. I think, after last night, I have a better appreciation for it." Kathryn said as she smiled shyly.

"Well then, even if Danny Taylor is stupid enough to let you get away, it was still worth it, right?"

Kathryn nodded, "Yeah, it was worth it. But it will still hurt if I don't hear from him. I really thought we connected. And he's a really nice guy, you know? I mean I know I said he was egotistical and difficult. But I think that is just the way he has to be in his job. Last night, he was warm and so polite. When I came back from the bathroom, he did that thing where he kind of stood up when I came back to the table. And then when we were walking to the restaurant I started walking by the street, and he kind of maneuvered me over so that I was on the inside of the sidewalk. Guys don't do that anymore. Of course, then he left without so much as a word this morning. So what do I know?"

Kathryn muddled through the rest of her day, and then made her way home. She walked into her apartment and collapsed on the sofa. As she lay there, tears started to well in her eyes. The truly sad part of all of this for her was that she was really starting to fall for him. Even before they went out, she felt a connection with him. As she lay on the sofa tears rolling down her cheeks, the phone rang.

Kathryn didn't really think anything of it. She just wiped her tears away, and answered, "Hello."

"Hey," Danny said cautiously.

Kathryn was startled when she heard his voice. "Danny?"

"Yeah, listen, I'm sorry…"

"How did you get this number?"

"Oh, well…I do work for the FBI. I could probably find the number of your childhood home, too."

Kathryn smiled, but then immediately got serious, "Right. Well what do you want?"

"I got a phone call early this morning. It was work. I had to leave in kind of a hurry because I had to go home before I went to the scene. I meant to leave a note. I promise. And then I was going to call you at work but I got caught in a five-hour interrogation. I'm sorry. There's no good excuse."

Kathryn let out a sigh, and her heart was pounding, "I think that's a pretty good excuse…as excuses go."

"So I get a second chance? We can go on an official date?"

"I'd really like that."

"Me, too. I'm still caught up in this case, but I promise I'll call you as soon as we wrap it up."

"Sounds good. Thanks for calling, and for a great night, last night."

"Well, I should probably thank you for that. Take care. I'll see you soon."

"Bye."

Kathryn hung up the phone and did a little victory dance of her own.
Danny did eventually call Kathryn and they started their version of dating. Their careers didn't really allow them to see each other frequently. They would make plans to see a movie or go to dinner, and inevitably one of them, usually Danny, would get a call about work. So they settled in to a modified version of dating which usually found Danny coming to her apartment late at night to steal a few moments together before he had to go to his apartment to get ready for work.

It wasn't Kathryn's idea of a perfect relationship, but when it came to Danny she would take what she could get. He was becoming her addiction. She thought about him all the time, and her heart would race when her phone rang in hopes that it would be him. They'd been together for less than a month, and she already knew she was in love. She ached to tell him, but didn't want to scare him away. Instead, she just appreciated the nights he would come over, and they would lie on her couch in a tangle of limbs and pretend to watch television. One night, Danny stopped by and they ended up on the couch talking about her failed engagement among other things.

"So I have kind of a personal question," stated Kathryn.

"You do?" Danny asked.

"Yes, you don't have to answer, but I'm curious."

"OK. Shoot…" Kathryn smiled and almost laughed, "What's your number?"

"My number? What my telephone number? Which one…work, cell?" teased Danny.

"No, you know what I'm talking about. I wanted to know how many women you've been with before me."

"So the ones before, not the ones I'm still seeing now?" Danny teased and laughed as she playing punched him in the arm.

"Don't joke. You have kind of reputation in the DA's office as being a flirt so you can understand my worries."

"I have a reputation? Wow…that's nice to know, but you have nothing to worry about. I'm so busy; I only have time for one woman. I'd be exhausted if I had to satisfy someone else in addition to you," Danny smiled slyly.

"Well that's good to know," Kathryn sighed. "Now back to the original question…"

"My number…do you really want to know?"

"I think so. I hope I don't regret it."

"Well I'll say this…when I was younger I was kind of a partier, you know? So sex was just a part of all that. I liked to escape. But as I got older, I had to make a choice about what I wanted in my life because that lifestyle wasn't exactly conducive to my job. So while I probably have a high "number," my number recently is pretty low. Does that help you?"

"Well I think you are dodging the question, but it's nice to know you are more selective in your old age."

"OK, Ms.Curiosity…what about you…what's your number? If you're going to dish it out, you are going to have to take it as well."

"I have no problem with that, but I think you will be shocked."

"Shocked, huh? Maybe I don't want hear this."

"I met this guy in college when I was 21 years old. I didn't date a whole lot before him. I was kind of sheltered, you know? Well he was my first, and we dated, got engaged and were together for five years."

"And then after him, did you just go nuts and make up for lost time."

Kathryn laughed, "Well I guess you could say I am making up for lost time right now."

"Really? I'm the only other guy?"

"Oh come on Danny. You knew I wasn't that experienced that first night."

"Well, I knew you weren't used to hooking up on the first date, but I didn't think that I was first guy in what…two years?

"Right, I haven't been with him in over two years."

"So where is Prince Charming now?" teased Danny.

"Ha Ha. His name is Richard. He's a lawyer on Wall Street."

"Wow. So were you really in love with him?"

Kathryn looked up at Danny from her spot laying on his chest and looked into his dark eyes. "I thought I was," she whispered. Kathryn realized looking at Danny that she never was in love with Richard. She never felt like this with Richard.

"What happened?" Danny asked.

"I met him in college. I was one of those girls who was going from her parent's house, to the sorority house, and on to her husband's house. And he seemed like the perfect husband material. He was in law school and from a great family. And it just seemed the easiest thing to do. We got engaged. My mother planned the wedding of the century complete with the Vera Wang dress. After a while, I felt like I wasn't even living my life anymore. And Richard and I…it felt like we'd already been married for fifty years. There was no…"

"Passion?"

"Exactly," Kathryn replied as she slid up to kiss Danny.

After a few minutes, Danny pulled away, "So how did you tell him?"

"Tell who what?" Kathryn asked completely confused after their intense kiss.

"How did you break off your engagement?"

"You will think I'm terrible. On my wedding day, I was in the back of the church with 500 hundred of our closest friends and family waiting to watch me walk down the aisle."

"Oh no."

"Oh yes. My father took my hand to walk down the aisle and I started weeping uncontrollably. And they weren't tears of happiness. I felt like I was going to prison. Richard wanted me to quit the DA's office, and focus on charity work. So I told my father how I felt. I thought he was going to freak out. But he didn't. He just gave me his handkerchief, and told me he would take care of it. He walked up the aisle, told Richard, and then informed the guests that there wouldn't be a wedding."

"You're father sounds like a good guy."

"He is. They both are pretty great. I just hated the thought of disappointing them, you know?"

"I can imagine," Danny replied with a distant look in his eyes.

"What about your parents? Your family? You've never talked about them," Kathryn inquired as she looked up at him.

Danny just looked at her for a moment, and then started to sit up, "Not much to tell."

His quick movement startled Kathryn. "Did I say something wrong?"

"No. I just should probably go. It's getting late," Danny replied as he looked for his shirt.

"You're going? Don't go. Come to bed for a while," Kathryn said as she slid close to him and put her hand on his chest.

"It's late."

"We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. We don't have to talk at all," Kathryn said as she started to kiss him. She desperately didn't want him to leave.

Danny saw the desperation and regret in her eyes for daring to ask about his family. He didn't want her to feel like that so he pulled away from her and responded, "Their dead."

Kathryn put a hand on his face, "Your parents?"

Danny nodded, "They died in a car accident when I was eleven. I lived in foster homes and group homes most of the time after that. So, it's just not my favorite subject."

Kathryn laid her head on his bare chest and wrapped her arms around him, "I'm sorry."

"Don't…don't feel sorry for me. I'm fine. It's the past and I'm over it. That's why I don't like talking about it. It's almost like it didn't even happen, you know?"

Kathryn just nodded, but she could hear in his voice that he was trying to convince himself of that more than her. She kissed him lightly then, and took his hand as she led him to her bedroom.

More time passed as Kathryn and Danny grew closer, but she still felt a distance with him. She felt like he still resisted opening up to her. Danny was a living dichotomy. He could be talking a mile a minute about a case, or some current event. The next minute he would shut completely down if a topic became personal. To Danny, his past was off-limits even to her. One lazy Sunday morning, they slept in late at her apartment. Kathryn woke up before he did. While he was still sleeping, she absently traced her finger along the scar on his stomach. Danny woke up startled at her touch and quickly grabbed her hand.

Kathryn, completely caught off guard, let out a little yelp of surprise. Danny's hand was wrapped tightly around her wrist, hurting her. "Danny, you're hurting me," Kathryn exclaimed.

Danny just realizing what was happening quickly let go and apologized, "I'm sorry, baby. I just…I don't know…I must have been dreaming or something."

Kathryn lifted herself to lay her head on the pillow next to his. She asked, "Are you OK?" as she put her hand on his face.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"I know," she whispered softly. "Is it the scar? I was touching the scar on your stomach. How did you get it?"

"No…it's no big deal. Just a freak bicycle accident when I was a kid," Danny lied. He wasn't ready to tell her what really happened. He wasn't sure he would ever be ready.

"How about the one on your wrist," she asked as she lightly touched the other scar.

Danny just looked at her for a moment, and then said, "Why all the interest? I was a clumsy kid. What can I say?"

"I want to know everything about you. Every scar, every mark….it all tells a story," she said innocently.

"Well this scar just tells the story of me not watching where I was going and running into a window. I barely remember it happening," Danny answered referring to his wrist. Once again, he didn't want to tell Kathryn the truth.

Until recently, Danny actually believed the story his mother told him about his wrist scar. But then, he spoke to his brother Rafael in prison. He still hadn't told Kathryn about Rafael even though he spoke on behalf of his brother at his parole hearing. He still wasn't sure he could trust his brother. He wasn't sure he wanted Rafael in his life. So, Danny didn't think he should tell Kathryn about Rafael. It would open up too many painful memories for him including the one about how he got the scar on his wrist. It wasn't because he was clumsy. It was because his drunken father lost his temper and cut him with a beer bottle. Sometimes Danny had nightmares about it, but never really saw it happening – he just felt the pain and the fear.

Kathryn could tell that this wasn't territory that Danny wanted to talk about. She could see him shut down right before her eyes.

"You know I have like a million things to do today. I hate to leave you," Danny said as he sat up.

Kathryn reached out and touched his arm, "Don't leave me."

Danny leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. "I have to, but I'll call you tonight. Maybe we can go to dinner or something."

"OK," she said with a little sadness as she watched Danny gather his clothes and slip into the bathroom. A few minutes later he came out dressed.

"Are you going to stay in bed all day?" Danny asked.

"Maybe."

Danny sat on the edge of the bed. Kathryn sat up, and they kissed again. She tried to pull him back to bed, but he resisted. "I have to go, baby," Danny pleaded.

Kathryn ran her hand through his hair and looked in his eyes. "I love you. You don't have to say it back, but I just want you to know that."

Danny looked at her and kissed her again, "How did I get so lucky? You're amazing. I'll call you later, OK?"

Kathryn smiled and nodded. And then he left. Kathryn collapsed back into her pillow. She didn't regret telling him how she felt. She just wished she knew what he was thinking. Part of her liked his mysterious nature especially in the beginning when everything was exciting and new. But now they have been together for over two months, and she wanted to go to another level with him.

She even considered asking Danny to move in with her considering they'd only been to his apartment twice. She met him there when he needed to pick up change of clothes for the next day. He had a studio apartment – not unusual for a single guy living in Manhattan. Kathryn was struck by how little she could find out about him by seeing where he lived. There were no pictures, no clutter and no personal touches. He could probably pick up and move from the apartment in an hour. It was like he was used to not putting roots down even though he had lived in that apartment for a few years.

Instead of asking him to move in with her, she decided to start smaller. She started giving him subtle hints about going on a vacation together. He seemed receptive, but wasn't willing to commit to a concrete date.

One afternoon after they'd been dating for almost four months, Kathryn found herself at the FederalBuilding taking depositions in a serial kidnap/murder case. From Danny's team, she was interviewing Jack and Vivian. After Jack finished his interview, Danny popped in the conference room.

"Hey, you are not on my list today," joked Kathryn.

"I thought I was on your list everyday," Danny replied as he sat down next to her.

Kathryn smiled, "Vivian is my next depo."

"I know. She got held up on the phone with D.C. about a case. I volunteered to come in and tell you she is running a few minutes late."

"Thanks. That's very kind of you."

"Well, I have ulterior motives. I wanted to see you," Danny said as he put his on her knee and started to caress her thigh under her skirt.

Kathryn shook her head and blushed as she removed his hand from her thigh, and laced her fingers through his. "You know this is a capital murder case. I have to stay….focused."

Danny smiled, "Sorry. I couldn't control myself. You looked so beautiful sitting here all by yourself."

"Well, I'm glad you stopped by. Actually, this might be a good time to talk about something."

"What's that?"

"A vacation. Getting away from the city for a few days…Jamaica, the Bahamas…I'm not picky as long as it is warm and far away from here."

"Well, I told you it sounds great."

"I know, but I would like more a concrete answer. A date, a flight time, reservations….the whole nine yards."

Danny nodded, "I know. It's just hard to get away from here."

"Everybody takes vacations…even FBI agents. And I'm talking about 4 or 5 days, not 40 or 50 years," Kathryn said sarcastically as she took her hand away from his.

Danny looked at her skeptically, "What does that mean?"

"It means…it means…that I think you equate going away with me as some sort of commitment issue. And you don't seem ready for that."

"I'm not ready for commitment…I'm not ready? What would make you say that? I think I've been pretty committed the last 4 months."

"Just because your not sleeping with other people doesn't mean you're committed to me." Kathryn couldn't believe she was saying all this, but it had been on her mind for a while.

Danny just looked at her and smirked, "I don't really know how to respond to that. I think I…"

Just as Danny was going to respond, Vivian walked in, "Am I interrupting?"

Danny rose quickly from the chair, "No," he said while looking at Kathryn. "I was just getting some legal advice."

Kathryn looked down as Danny walked out. After he left she looked up, "Hi, Vivian."

"It's good to see you Kathryn. How have you been?"

"OK. How are you? How's your family?"

"Their fine." Vivian could see that she was a bit shaken, "Are you OK? Is Danny still giving you a hard time about the Sander's case from three years ago?"

Kathryn looked at Vivian, and had a realization. Vivian had no idea that she and Danny were together. She wondered if anyone in Danny's life knew about them. "No, I'm fine. It's just been a long day."

She deposed Vivian, and then went home. Kathryn wasn't sure what her next step with Danny should be. She still loved him, but she couldn't risk getting hurt any more.

Kathryn spent the next three days dodging Danny's calls. She left him a message on his office phone asking him to give her a few days to think. She needed distance. Kathryn knew if she talked to him or saw him, she would forget about the things that bothered her and fall back in to his arms. She wasn't sure she could be with someone who seemed intent on hiding things. She hated that it was so easy for Danny to shut down. Danny didn't even want to fight about things. Whenever they would disagree about something or she would get frustrated with him, Danny would just get quiet and leave. The problem with that is Kathryn knows what a passionate person Danny is. She saw him fight back on the witness stand during the Sanders case. He couldn't back down if he tried. He had a reputation for being an intense interrogator, but when it came to talking about his personal life he seemed incapable of that same passionate communication. While Kathryn was deeply in love with Danny, she did not understand him at all. And she wasn't sure she could continue her relationship with him under those circumstances.

All of Kathryn's reservations about Danny started to slip away when she saw him sitting on the steps of her brownstone with a bunch of tulips in hand. Sometimes he could look like such a little boy especially while wearing faded jeans and a t-shirt. He looked amazing. As she approached, Danny stood up. "I thought I made it pretty clear that I needed some time," Kathryn started.

"You did. You made it very clear, but it's been three days. You know me…patience isn't one of my strong points," Danny said as he smiled and held out the flowers.

Kathryn took them and looked down. She studied them--afraid to look into Danny's eyes for fear that she would get lost in them once again. "Their beautiful, my favorite. How did you know?"

"We were at that art fair a couple of months ago. You fell of in love with that picture with this flower. I figured they must be your favorite."

"You're good," Kathryn whispered while still averting his eyes.

"Strong observation skills…it's part of the job," Danny replied as he slowly tilted her chin up to look at her.

Kathryn finally met his gaze, and then backed away slightly, "Danny…I'm not ready…"

"We have to talk, because, honestly, I don't understand what I did. Just tell me what I did wrong so I can fix it."

"It's complicated."

Danny nodded as he pulled out some brochures from his pocket. "Is it about the vacation? Because, I called a travel agent. She worked up three different trips for us. All we have to do is pick one," he said as he handed her the brochures.

Kathryn looked at the brochures, and then back up at Danny, "This was very nice of you, but we still need to talk about some things."

"Let's talk. I'm ready," Danny stated as he took her hand and started to lead her up the stairs.

"Wait…Danny…not here. Let's go somewhere. I can't…I know what will happen if we go upstairs."

"Nothing will happen that you don't want to happen," Danny said as he gave her a charming smile and lightly touched her face.

"You're right. I've missed you…but there are some things we have clear up before we can just fall back into….each other. You can't fix this with sex," Kathryn said desperately.

"Fine. Let's go somewhere and talk."

They ended up at a coffee shop a couple of blocks from her apartment. While Kathryn wanted to sit at a booth where they would sit across from each other, Danny guided her to a curved booth where they sat right next to each other. She put a safe amount of distance between them. They both ordered coffee, and then Danny looked at her expectantly. "So what do you want to talk about?"

This was much harder for Kathryn than she thought. All the reasons for staying away from him just an hour earlier were slipping out of her mind, but she started, "I just feel like you aren't really committed to us."

"I don't understand how you can say that."

"Commitment is not just about monogamy, Danny."

"I know that. Why do you think I don't know that? Do really think that I just want to be with you for sex? It's so much more that that. I…I love you." Danny explained.

Kathryn's heart leapt. It was the first time he said it. "Then why don't you let me in? Why do I feel like I still don't know you at all? I just don't understand…." Kathryn wanted to ask Danny about his co-workers, and if they knew about them, but she was afraid – afraid of the answer.

Danny put her hand on her cheek so that she couldn't turn away. "Baby, you know me. I have let you in. I care about you so much, and I love spending time with you. The last three days have proved to me how much I need you in my life. I miss you, baby," he whispered seductively.

Kathryn leaned in to his touch and closed her eyes. She loved hearing him call her "baby". He always called her that in bed, and whenever he wanted something from her. When she opened her eyes, Danny's lips brushed against hers. Kathryn responded by inching her body closer to his. As they continued to kiss, Danny pulled her even closer. This is exactly what Kathryn didn't want to happen, but she had no control when it came to Danny. His hands were roaming up her blouse. She didn't even care that they were in a public place. Finally, Danny broke from their passionate kiss.

"Come with me," Danny whispered in her ear. He put a few dollars on the table as he took her hand.

At first, Kathryn thought he was taking her home. But instead, he led her to the back of the restaurant to the bathrooms. He opened the door to the women's restroom, pulled her inside, and locked the door. "I don't know about this," Kathryn said as Danny pushed her against the door, and started to kiss her neck.

"Do you want me to stop?" Danny asked.

Kathryn looked in his eyes. She missed him so much. She finally shook her head, and he started to push up her skirt.

"Trust me."

And she did. She knew what seeing Danny again would lead to. As she was with him, in her mind, she decided she wouldn't let it bother her anymore. She would take the relationship at Danny's pace. It was worth it to feel the way he made her feel. She would stop pressuring him, and just accept him the way he is. He's always treated her well, and they don't fight. Kathryn told herself that people have problems in relationships all the time. They look the other way if they love someone, and that's exactly what she would do with Danny.

They settled back in to their routine, and even took a short vacation to Jamaica. They had an amazing time, and Kathryn found herself happier than she had ever been in her life. Danny even took the time to come to her family's house for dinner. He met her parents, sister and brother. Danny charmed them all. Ultimately, Kathryn was happy that she let things go, but in the back of her mind she feared that someday Danny's secrets would hurt her.

That day came after they had been together for a little over six months. Danny was practically living in her apartment, but he still hesitated giving up his studio. He joked that he was keeping it to store his clothes because there wasn't an apartment big enough in Manhattan to store both of their extensive wardrobes.

Early one winter morning, Kathryn was wrapped closely in his arms. Even though the heat was on, the apartment never seemed to get warm. On mornings like these, Danny liked to wake her gently before the alarm went off to make love. The night before he barely had enough energy to undress because he worked 72 hours straight on a case. He basically just collapsed next to her, but he missed her and she missed him so he started to feather light kisses on her shoulder as he molded himself to the back of her body. Kathryn responded by reaching back and stroking his stubbled cheek and messy hair. They didn't need to exchange any words. They just knew what the other needed.

Then, suddenly, Kathryn was startled by the high-pitched ring of Danny's cell phone. She laughed lightly as Danny groaned, "Unbelievable." He reached over and grabbed his cell phone from the night-stand without completely moving away from her. "Taylor," he sleepily answered.

Kathryn couldn't hear the person on the other end, but whoever it was made Danny very tense. He sat up quickly, and started to walk out of the room, but Kathryn could hear him respond:

"It's OK. It's OK. I understand. I'll take care of it."

And then:

"I'll call you later to set up a time. I don't know what my schedule will be today."

Finally, Danny ended the call by saying something in Spanish in a soothing, consoling voice. Kathryn thought this was very strange if it was about work. Danny finally came back to the room and said, "God, it's freezing in here," as he pulled on his track pants.

"Was that work?" Kathryn asked as she sat up still a bit disoriented.

"Yeah…just something Jack wants me to follow up on before I get to work this morning."

"You sounded worried on the phone. Is everything OK?" Kathryn asked skeptically.

"I wasn't worried. Everything is fine. It's no big deal," Danny replied as he sat back on the bed and started to kiss her.

Kathryn didn't ask about what he said in Spanish. She knew that he wasn't telling the truth, though. She started to feel very frustrated so she pushed him away as he was starting to lower her back to her pillow. "You know what, I should get ready for work. I have a lot going on today. It sounds like you do, too."

Danny looked at her with concern and whispered, "It's still early, baby."

"I know, but I should get an early start. OK?"

"OK," Danny responded as he pulled away and got up hesitantly.

They both got ready for work and went their separate ways after a quick goodbye. They both left knowing they were leaving things unsaid.

Kathryn couldn't get the phone call out of her head all day. She knew she should have confronted Danny right away. She had to start being honest with him. And she had to force him to be honest with her. She felt like they had come so far yet they still had so far to go.

Danny left a message for her on her voicemail saying he had something to take care of after work so he would call her later that night. Instead of waiting for his call, Kathryn decided to go to his apartment. She just had a feeling he was there. So, after work, she took a cab to his building. As she got out of the cab she looked across the street to the front entrance to his building. Danny was standing outside talking to an attractive woman with a little boy. At first, Kathryn felt a pang of jealousy because he seemed so concerned about the woman. Then a wave a nausea overcame Kathryn as she focused on the little boy. He had Danny's eyes. The little boy looked up at Danny like a son would to a father with an adoring expression. Kathryn stood back and watched the scene unfold as tears fell down her face. Danny gave the women an envelope, and then the woman wrapped her arms around Danny. They embraced for a few moments. Then Danny squatted down and talked to the little boy who seemed more than excited to see him. Kathryn was stunned by the resemblance. She could only deduce that this was Danny's child, and that would mean the woman was an ex-lover, or maybe he was still with her? Kathryn wanted to be sick. She quickly started to walk away not wanting to look anymore. She was devastated.

Later that night, Danny did call, but she didn't answer. Finally, he just came over. He used his key to come in. "Hey, babe, where have you been? I called. I thought we could meet at that sushi place. Have you eaten? I'm starving," Danny kept talking as he walked into the kitchen. Kathryn was standing at the counter making tea. Danny walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

When he touched her, Kathryn didn't want him let go. She wanted to forget about the woman and little boy. Danny started to kiss her neck. "Did you have a good day today?"

"It was OK." Kathryn replied quietly.

Danny slowly started to unzip the back of her dress while still kissing her. "You know we didn't get to finish what we started this morning," Danny said as he snaked his hands around her body under her dress and pulled her closer.

As he started to unhook her bra, Kathryn realized that she had to end this. She couldn't let him distract her again. So she turned around quickly in his arms, and pushed him away. "Stop….I can't do this anymore," she exclaimed as she walk away from him.

Danny followed her into the bedroom. "Hey," he said noticing she had been crying, "What is it?" Danny asked as turned her around to face him. When he started to wipe a tear away, she quickly pushed his hand away.

"Don't touch me," Kathryn said wearily as she grabbed her robe off the bed. She quickly removed the unzipped dress and put on her robe.

Danny watched her with a confused look, "OK, you are going to have to fill in the blanks here. What did I do now?"

Kathryn started by asking him, "Have you told the people you work with about us?"

Danny was caught off guard by the strange question, "What?"

"A couple of months ago, when I deposed Vivian, it was obvious that she didn't know about us. I thought that was strange, but I figured in time that you would tell them. But you haven't, have you?"

"What difference does it…"

"Just answer the question, Danny. Just, for once, tell me the truth and don't try to talk your way out of it."

"Talk my way out of it? I don't understand what brought this on, but I'll tell you – No, I haven't said anything. I'm sure they assume that I've been seeing someone, but I haven't come out and told them it is you. It's private. I don't like to bringing my personal life in to work."

Kathryn nodded and asked, "Why? What's the big deal about telling the people you spend all your time with that you have a girlfriend? Why wouldn't you want them to know that you are happy with someone?"

"It's none of their business."

"Is it because they know about your son?"

Danny laughed, "What? My son? I don't have…"

"I saw you," Kathryn yelled. "I saw you with that woman and little boy today. I knew that you were hiding something this morning, so I went to your apartment after work. And I saw you. He looks just like you, Danny," Kathryn said as she started to weep again. "And she…she obviously loves you very much. Is that why you don't want anyone to know about me? Because you already have a family?"

"Kathryn, you have it all wrong. He's not my son. She's not…she's not my lover or wife or mother of my child. That's crazy. How could you even think that?"

Kathryn was completely exasperated. "Well then, who are they? Why can't you be honest with me?"

"I am honest with you. This is nothing. It's not important. It doesn't involve you."

"How can you say that? After all we've shared? You know everything there is to know about me. I've told you everything. Why are you keeping secrets?"

Danny was getting frustrated now, "They aren't secrets. It's a part of my past. A past that doesn't even exist for me anymore. Why can't I just start over?"

"That's not the way relationships work, Danny. Especially when your 'past' calls you at 5 in the morning. And you meet your 'past' at your apartment."

Danny was angry now, but he didn't want to take it out on Kathryn. He was angry that he had to explain himself. "You really want to know?"

"Yes," Kathryn said quietly seeing the anger in Danny's eyes.

"I have a brother. That was his fiancé and kid today. He got out of prison six months ago. I spoke at his parole hearing because I thought he wanted a fresh start with his new family. I decided to trust him again after all these years. And now, he's left them. He took all the money and split. He's probably off somewhere getting high. So today I met them and gave them some money to help them out."

"You have a brother? Why didn't you…"

"I didn't tell you because he's not a part of my life anymore. I took all the memories…all the pain…and threw it away. When I'm with you, I don't want to think about that stuff anymore. There are things that I did in my past…things that you don't want to know. If you knew them, you wouldn't want….But you couldn't let it go."

Kathryn sat down on the sofa not sure if she was relieved or angrier than she was before. "I couldn't let it go? What's is wrong with you, Danny? When you are in a relationship, you don't hide things. You don't lie about early morning phone calls. I need to be in an honest, open relationship."

"If keeping what we have means digging all that up again, then I am not sure…" Danny started to say.

"You want to throw the last six months away because you are afraid of what I'll think? You can't tell me anything that will change the way I feel about you."

"Don't be too sure about that," Danny responded quietly. "Maybe you were right…a couple of months ago…when you said we needed distance."

"Danny…don't…" Kathryn started to move toward him but he backed away.

"I'm sorry that I lied to you. I'll…um…I'll come back sometime while you're at work to get my things. I'll leave the key."

Kathryn sat on the edge of the bed slightly stunned. She didn't know what to say. She was ready to leave him tonight if he wasn't honest with her, but she wasn't ready for him to leave her. She just watched as Danny turned and walked out the door.

The next day Kathryn called in sick to work. Her heart was broken. She just laid on her bed clutching Danny's pillow while wrapped in one of his dress shirts. She was mentally questioning the way she handled things with him. Why did she need to know everything? Maybe it was too painful for him to talk about it. She shouldn't try to force him. But Kathryn knew she couldn't live like that. She couldn't live with someone who kept secrets.

Six months ago, she thought she was happy with her life. Before Danny, everything was so simple. She worked. She went out with friends and dated occasionally. And then in the one moment when she watched him talk to Jimmy Wilkens, she felt something. She never expected to fall in love with Danny Taylor and certainly not so fast. But just as fast as it happened, now she was alone and literally aching for him. And she still was overcome with a need to find out more about him.

In an effort to just get out of bed, Kathryn decided to get on her computer and to see if she could fill in the holes of Danny's life. Maybe that would give her some sort of closure. So, she logged in and accessed the databases through her work network. Most of Danny's personnel records were classified by the FBI so she couldn't read them. So she traveled back further. She knew he spent time in the foster care system. So she started to search the DCFS databases. She had special security for the databases because she handled several cases for DCFS children at the DA's office.

She knew it was wrong. She knew he would never forgive her for invading his privacy, but she had to know. At first, she couldn't find any records for a "Danny Taylor" that fit Danny's description. Then she noticed a name change file for a Danny Taylor. She opened the file. Daniel Michael Alvarez changed is name to Daniel Taylor in 1991. Danny would have been 17. On the name change file, she found a social security number and a copy of Danny's driver's license. This was definitely her Danny. She knew that the social security number was the key to unlocking his past. She took the number and entered into the DCFS database. She knew there was no going back…that after this – she would know most of what he has tried so hard to bury.

Kathryn started to review Danny's DCFS case files:

Daniel Michael Alvarez was born in Hialeyah, Florida in 1973. His file with the Florida DCFS begins in 1984 after his parents were killed in a car accident. There are notes in his file that show his mother's sister and sister's husband were supposed to take custody of the 11 year old, and his 17 year old brother Rafael Alvarez. But, six months after they took custody, his aunt and uncle left town one day while Danny was at school. He came home to an empty house. Three months later, he was picked up by the local police. He'd been sleeping on the street. Sometimes his brother would find them a place to stay. But, most of the time, Rafael was no where to be found. He would leave Danny alone to fend for himself. Danny attended school the whole time – pretending that he was still living with his aunt and uncle. He never told anyone that they abandon him.

After the local police dropped him off at DCFS, Danny was put in a group home. He ran away six times from various group and foster homes until he was 13. He also was in and out of trouble with petty crimes. When he was 13, he was picked up for shoplifting by local police. The charges were dropped when he agreed to participate in a local church after school program, and not run away from the group home again. According to his social worker's notes, he stayed out of trouble for about a year. When he was 14, he went to live with his grandmother and brother, Rafael, now 20. Rafael had been in and out of juvenile detention. Danny's social worker noted that under his brother's influence, Danny started running with the wrong crowd. Rafael, a known drug user, got into some trouble with a drug dealer. Danny tried to help his brother by being a courier for the dealer. When his brother still couldn't pay, being the dealer's courier wasn't good enough. The dealer wanted to send a message to Rafael. Danny was found in an alley beaten and stabbed in the stomach and left to die. He spent three weeks in the hospital recovering. According to his social worker, no one came to see him in the hospital. He was listed as abandoned again by DCFS. His grandmother had fallen ill and passed away. The social worker was working to find a foster home to care for the recovering Danny when he disappeared from the hospital.

When he was 15, Danny's name turned up in the Manhattan DCFS database. He was brought to the DCFS when his brother was sent to prison for possession and theft. The new social worker noted that his brother brought Danny to New York City to get away from Rafael's drug ties in Florida. Rafael owed money and couldn't pay. The new social worker found Danny a good foster home with Marshall and Regina Taylor. They were an elderly couple who took in older foster children who were committed to getting their education. The couple had no interest in being parents. They just wanted to provide living quarters for foster children that needed a safe place to stay, and collect the $600/mos stipend. The new social worker noted that Danny was very committed to not turning out like his brother. He had a plan to finish high school, keep a full-time job and go to college. He lived with the Taylors' until he graduated from high school in 1992. They agreed to let him take their name when he was 17 without adopting him. After 1992, there is no further record on file with DCFS.

Tears were falling from Kathryn's eyes as she read about Danny's painful history. She couldn't imagine how abandoned and alone he felt. It was very clear to her now why Danny was so guarded. She thought that she would feel better knowing, but actually, she felt worse because she felt like she had abandon him too. But she couldn't go to him now without telling him what she'd done. And she knew once he found out that she had investigated him, he would never want to see her again. So she just had to let him go. There was nothing else she could do.

Several weeks passed, Kathryn and Danny still hadn't talked. He came to her apartment one day and cleared out his belongings. She returned home that evening to find his key on the kitchen counter.

One day at work, Kathryn was getting off the elevator on her way to her office. She walked passed one of the court rooms, and saw Danny talking to one of her fellow ADAs. She wanted to keep walking, but something kept her feet planted. She watched Danny shake the ADA's hand, and he started walking out towards her. Just as she started to move her feet, their eyes locked.

Danny walked up to her and smiled warmly, "Hey. I was wondering when I would run into you here."

Kathryn was thankful for the smile. She responded, "Me, too. It was inevitable, right?"

"Yeah. I guess. How are you?"

"OK. You?"

"I'm fine. I'm busy with work, as usual."

"Me, too." Kathryn had no idea what to say next. Just as she was about to suggest they get coffee, someone approached them.

"Danny, I just called in to Jack. Now that we have the warrant, he wants us to get over to the Hollins' ASAP," Samantha interrupted and then noticed Danny was talking to Kathryn. "How rude of me. Sorry to interrupt. Hi, Kathryn."

"Samantha. How are you?"

"Well, I'll be better when we find Susan Hollins."

"Well then, you two better go," Kathryn said as she looked at Danny.

"It was good to see you," Danny said as he started walking toward the elevator. "Take care."

"Bye," responded Kathryn quietly. She could see that Samantha was confused by their personal exchange.

Kathryn felt at that moment that it was really over between her and Danny. She needed to focus on moving on because things would never be the same between them.

Two months passed, and Kathryn had trained herself to not think of Danny during the work day. She mostly just thought of him at night now, and first thing in the morning. She remembered waking up next to him and looking into his beautiful sleep-filled eyes and laughing at his out of control bed-head. She saw Danny occasionally. He was always very polite. She suggested once that they get coffee, but he said he was busy. She could tell he was putting distance between them. He knew he couldn't be in a relationship on her terms. He couldn't be honest with her, and she could never tell him that she knows much of what he is keeping secret.

One morning, after she and Danny had been a part for over four months, Kathryn was in a morning ADA meeting. The meeting's purpose was to handout assignments to the attorneys. Kathryn received her assignments and was about to leave when she heard a familiar name.

The ADA in charge of the meeting said, "Williams, you need to take this Alvarez case. Rafael Alvarez was shot to death by an off-duty patrol officer last night during the commission of an armed robbery. Mr. Alvarez was not a solid citizen. He did time for aggravated assault, theft and possession. It looks like a good shoot especially since this Alvarez was strung out at the time, but we need to do a thorough investigation. We don't want any ACLU inquiries into the NYPD."

Kathryn caught up with ADA Williams after the meeting. "Hey, can I look at the Alvarez file?"

"Sure, you want to take it. I don't have time for it, really."

"No, I can't take it. I just want to read it. I'll drop it off in your office in 20 minutes."

"Thanks a lot."

Kathryn sat in the hall and read the file. She saw a mug shot of Rafael Alvarez. It was definitely Danny's brother. He had the same haunting eyes. There was no next of kin listed in the file. Kathryn wondered if Danny knew what happened. She returned the file and immediately headed over the Danny's office.

She went up to Danny's floor and looked through the windows to the bullpen. She didn't see Danny or anyone else in the Missing Persons area. She knew she should have called first. She pulled out her cell phone to call Danny when Jack approached her. "Kathryn. How are you?"

"Hi, Jack. Uh…is Danny around?"

"No, he…uh…he's out in the field working on a case."

"Oh…" And then Kathryn had a thought. Maybe she should tell Jack. He had to already know that Danny had a brother from Danny's personnel record. "Do you have a minute, Jack?"

"Not really, but come in anyway," Jack replied as he ushered her into the office.

"This isn't about a case. It's about Danny."

"OK…what about him?"

"Were you aware that he has or had a brother, Rafael Alvarez?" asked Kathryn.

"How do you know about Danny's brother?" replied Jack.

"This is complicated…um…Danny and I…we dated for a while a few months ago. So I know things about him that maybe he doesn't usually talk about."

"Do you know what happened to Raphael?"

Kathryn looked at Jack with an expectant expression, "Do you know?"

"Yes. An NYPD detective called me this morning. Apparently, Danny got a call from his brother's girlfriend last night. She told him that she heard Rafael was in some trouble at this convenience store. Danny went to check it out and used his FBI credential to gain access to the scene. He saw that it was Rafael and he was dead, and then took off. The detective called me this morning asking me why one of my agents was interested in his crime scene."

"Jack…if you know that Danny just lost his brother, then why is he still working today?"

"I called Danny in here this morning. I told him to go home. I told him to take some time off. He didn't want to. He said he was better here than home alone. I have a feeling he really doesn't have anywhere to go. Danny doesn't have any other family. Rafael's girlfriend and son left town."

Kathryn felt horrible. She felt horrible because she wasn't there for him. But the sad thing is that she wasn't even sure he would tell her about Rafael even if they were together.

"Listen, Jack, if you don't mind. Don't tell him I stopped by. I just wanted to make sure he was OK."

"OK."

"I know that he respects you a lot. So maybe he'll listen to you. Maybe you could get him some help. I think this might affect him more than he says."

"It sounds like you know Danny pretty well. Listening isn't one of his strongest attributes, but I'll do my best."

"Thanks, Jack."

"Bye."

Kathryn left, and went back to work. She thought about Danny all day, and was still thinking about him when she got home. The rain started falling earlier in the day. The day had been dark and gloomy. Kathryn ached to call Danny, but she didn't. She knew he was suffering silently. Kathryn fell asleep on the couch. She was wakened at 1 a.m. by her door buzzer. A disoriented Kathryn went to the intercom and pressed the button, "Yes."

"It's Danny…can I come up?"

"Yeah." Kathryn buzz him in.

She opened the door to her apartment and waited for him to come up the stairs. She had no idea what she should say to him. Maybe Jack told him that she knew. Maybe he was angry. As soon as he turned the corner and started to walk towards her, she knew he wasn't angry. He was soaking wet, and looked completed exhausted and dejected.

He stopped before entering, and looked down at her with those sad downcast eyes. "I…um…can I just come in for a while?"

"Of course."

He came in, and she closed the door. "You're soaked, Danny," she said as she pulled of his leather jacket.

"I'm OK."

She put his coat on a chair to dry. "Can I get you tea or something? You must be freezing."

"No, thanks."

They just stood their looking at each other.

"I know that I have no right to be here. I just don't know where else to go."

Kathryn nodded, "It's OK. Do you want to talk?"

Danny shook his head. "No," he whispered as he walked toward her. He slowly put his hand on her cheek and kissed her lightly. Then he moved his hand to the back of her neck as he pressed his forehead to hers. "I need you."

Kathryn closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around him. He held her so tight she thought he would never let go. But then he pulled just far enough away to starting kissing her. This was different than all the other times with Danny. Usually, he would start slow and take his time with every kiss and touch. But this time, he kisses were frantic. And Kathryn responded. She pulled him toward the bedroom. As soon as they entered the room, he pressed her up against the wall as if he wanted to get as close to her as possible. He only pulled away long enough to take off his clothes. She blushed as he removed her t-shirt…one of his FBI t-shirts that she took from him long ago.

After they finished, she breathlessly rested against his chest. Danny slowly ran his hand through her hair. "Are you OK?" he asked hesitantly.

Kathryn looked up at him and nodded. "Yes," she replied as she trailed a few kisses down his chest to his stomach and trace her finger across the scar that she now knew the story of.

"I know I owe you an explanation."

"I don't need an explanation. Let's just get some sleep." She then curled herself next to him just like she used to and silently prayed that he stayed until the morning.

The next morning, Kathryn woke and reached for Danny, but he wasn't there. She sighed sadly, and turned over to check the time. Danny was sitting in the chair next to her bed watching her. "Morning," he said quietly.

"Hey. I thought…"

"You thought I left. I couldn't leave without telling you…you need to know why this happened."

"It's OK, Danny."

"No it's not. I don't want to use you. I don't want to take advantage of you. I'm sorry," Danny said as he looked at her with sadness.

Kathryn sat up and wrapped a sheet around her. "You could never make me feel like that."

Danny rubbed his eyes, and ran a hand through his hair. It was obvious he hadn't slept. He continued, "You know I've been watching you almost all night. You are so beautiful and kind. You never asked for much from me, and I couldn't…I was such an idiot. I don't know why you give me the time of day."

"Because…because I love you. I want to be here for you."

Danny nodded and then finally said, "My brother is dead."

"I know," she said hesitantly.

"How do you know?" Danny asked.

"Don't be mad, but after we broke up, I did some checking and I found out his name. And then yesterday, his case came up in the morning ADA meeting. I went to your office because I wasn't sure you knew. Jack told me what happened."

"So last night…you knew…that's why you didn't stop me."

"Danny, I don't think I would have wanted to stop you regardless. Tell me about what happened with your brother," Kathryn pleaded as she sat on the edge of the bed directly in front of Danny.

"Sylvia, his son's mother, called me. She left town a few days ago to get away from Raffi. She was afraid he would get violent with her or her son because he was desperate for money. Anyway, her brother called her and told her that Raffi was in trouble at some liquor store. She called me to see if I would help him. She didn't know he'd been shot. She thought I could get him out of trouble. I wasn't going to go. I told her I was done with him, but something made me go down there. I walked in and there he was…just lying there, and I didn't feel anything. The patrol officer who shot him must have been 22 if he was a day. I could see him in the corner crying. He was crying for taking my brother's life. I couldn't cry. I just stood there."

Kathryn was crying now. She knelt in front of Danny and put his hands on his face, "You did everything you could for him." She put her arms around him and he pulled her close to him.

The held each other like that until Danny finally pulled away, "No, I didn't. He called me a few times in the last month. I never called him back. I knew he wanted money. I couldn't get pulled in again."

"He just would have used the money for drugs, Danny. You did the right thing. You did the only thing you could do."

Danny nodded, " I should go. I need to get to work."

"Danny, you should take some time."

"No, it's better if I stay busy. I…I don't feel anything, Kathryn. I'm numb. I don't feel grief or sadness…"

"When is the funeral?"

"He'll be buried this afternoon at St. Lukes."

"I'll go with you."

"No, I can do it on my own…"

"What time?"

"5:00."

"I'll meet you there."

Danny nodded and stood up and pulled her up with him. He stroked her hair and lightly kissed her forehead, "I love you, too." And then he walked out.

Kathryn arrived at the cemetery at five minutes after five. Danny was standing at the grave site all by himself. There was no funeral, no priest, no mourners…just Danny and the light rain that was starting to fall. Kathryn couldn't help but think that Danny was probably feeling abandoned again.

She walked up behind him. He turned around and took her umbrella to hold it for her. She took his hand and intertwined their fingers. They didn't say anything to each other. The workers came and lowered the casket into the ground, and then started to covered the casket with dirt. Danny held her hand tighter as the casket was slowly covered up. After a few moments, Danny nodded to the workers a silent thank you. Then he and Kathryn turned and started to walk away.

"Thank you for being here," said Danny quietly.

"Of course." They turned to look at each other. She slowly rose to kiss him on the cheek and smiled. "It's going to be OK. You are not alone."

"I know," Danny responded. "Listen…um…there are some things I need to take care of. Raffi had this room he was staying in. I need to clean it out. I know I won't be very good company so maybe I'll just go do that now."

"I'll go with you."

"No," Danny said quickly. "It's not the type of place that you should be exposed to. And I kind of need to do this alone."

"Will you be OK…going there alone?" Kathryn asked with a worried expression.

Danny smiled for the first time in two days and replied, "I'll be fine."

"Come over when you are finished, OK?"

"I'd like that," Danny said as he handed over her umbrella. "Can I get you a cab?"

"You know what…I haven't been in a church in ages. I think I am going to stop in for second, but I'll be OK. You go ahead."

Danny nodded and smiled again, "Say a prayer for me…and don't stay long. Be sure to get out of here before the sun goes down." They kissed briefly and Danny walked quickly toward the subway.

As Kathryn turned to go in the church, she noticed Jack standing in the distance. She started to walk toward him.

"Jack…you just missed Danny. The burial was a few minutes ago."

"I know I was watching. I'm glad you were here for him."

"Why didn't you want Danny to know you were here? And where's Samantha, Vivian and Martin, for that matter?" asked Kathryn with curiosity.

"He begged me not to tell them. They didn't know he had a brother, and he didn't want them to know about this. So I respected his wishes. He also didn't tell me about the burial. I had to call the morgue. I don't think he wanted me here."

"But you came anyway?"

"Well…I know that he is alone. I just wanted to make sure he was OK, and that he didn't do anything stupid."

"Stupid? Like what?"

"Like fall off the wagon for one. I asked him if he had gone to a meeting. He said that he would, but…is that where he is off to now?"

Kathryn felt like she had been punched in the stomach…another one of Danny's secrets revealed. She knew that Danny didn't drink, but she didn't know he was in AA.

"Kathryn…Kathryn? I asked if Danny was going to a meeting."

"Um…no," Kathryn was trying not to look surprised. "He…uh…he said he was going to clear out some of his brother's belongings. Maybe he'll go after…" Kathryn was desperately trying to hold back her tears.

"Hopefully, it would be a waste to lose eight years of sobriety over this."

Kathryn just nodded.

"Can I drop you somewhere?" asked Jack.

"No, thanks. Um…I was going to visit the church for a few minutes."

"Well, take care. Bye."

"Bye, Jack."

Kathryn walked away and stepped into the empty church. As soon as she entered, she collapsed into the first pew in a heap of tears. She felt so selfish. Instead of crying for Danny's brother or his nephew or Danny himself, she was crying for herself. Because she loved him so much, and still felt like he would never really let her in. She sat there for an hour reflecting on their relationship and evaluating the pros and the cons. When it came down to it, she loved him too much to let him go. She would be there for him just like she promised, and in time, maybe he would trust her completely. She knew that part of him would always be that little boy who felt abandon and alone.

Kathryn went home and waited for Danny. He never came over. She called him the next day, and there was no answer. She called his office, and Vivian said that he was taking a personal day. Finally, that evening she went to his apartment. She never got a key to his place because they always stayed at hers. So she knocked on the door. After a few minutes of knocking, she heard something stir inside his apartment.

"Danny…Danny…it's Kathryn. Are you in there?" she called out.

Finally the door opened a crack and Danny said carefully, "Hey…I…uh…wasn't expecting you. Did we have plans?"

"Last night…you said you were coming over, but you never showed. I got worried."

Danny put his head down, "I'm sorry, baby. It took me longer than I thought, and then I got back here and just collapsed. I was really tired."

Kathryn nodded and asked, "Can I come in?"

Danny looked at her hesitantly and finally opened the door. "Um…sure."

"Have you eaten?" Kathryn asked as she surveyed his apartment. It was very unkempt which was very unlike Danny.

"Yeah…I'm fine. I've just been sleeping…you know. Trying to just…get back to normal."

Kathryn then took a good look at Danny. His eyes were blood shot, and he almost had a full beard. She walked toward him to embrace him, but he backed away.

"What's wrong?" she asked quietly.

"I just need to get cleaned up. I wasn't expecting you. Let me jump in the shower, and then maybe we can go out or something."

"We don't have to go out. I'm sure you have something here…," Kathryn said as she walked in the kitchen.

"Wait…don't…"

She opened the refrigerator and found an open bottle of tequila. Kathryn just stared at it as tears filled her eyes. She wouldn't have known to be concerned if she hadn't talked to Jack earlier. Then she said, "I thought you didn't drink."

"I don't usually. You know that I don't, but Raffi…he…uh…had this bottle in his room, and I figured it would help me sleep. You know? It's no big deal. Just a one-time thing."

"No big deal," Kathryn said as she closed the refrigerator door and closed her eyes.

"In fact, that's all I've been doing all day…just sleeping. So I guess it kind of helped, but I can get rid of it now."

Kathryn turned toward him as she opened her eyes. "OK…we'll just pour it out then."

"Right."

"Why don't you take your shower, and I'll do that and straighten up in here."

"You don't have to do anything. Why don't you just head home, and I'll come over later. I'll bring dinner," Danny said as he smiled.

Kathryn didn't know what to do. Twenty-four hours ago she promised herself that she would stand by him. As much as she thought she should confront him now, she didn't want to hurt him more. "That's fine."

"Good," Danny said sounding relieved.

Kathryn went home reluctantly, and couldn't stop worrying about Danny. She paced her apartment for two hours until she finally heard the buzzer. "Danny?"

"It's me."

Kathryn breathed a sigh of relief as she buzzed him in.

When he walked in her apartment, he looked much better than before. He brought a pizza. "Are you hungry?"

"A little…yeah. Are you feeling better?"

"I'm much better now that I am with you." Danny bent down and kissed her. "Thanks for being so amazing through all this. I…uh…I would have been lost without you the other night."

Kathryn wondered if he would have gotten drunk that night if she hadn't let him in. Knowing about Danny's addiction filled in so many blanks in their relationship. Sometimes when Danny was down or bothered by a case, instead of talking it out, he would want to have sex. He would never force her to do anything, but Kathryn often felt like that was the only way to make him feel better. Maybe Danny used physical comfort now to replace the comfort he used to get from alcohol.

Only now, it was apparent that Danny had started to drink again. So as Jack said, he threw away eight years of sobriety. Kathryn couldn't understand why he didn't come to her. As she looked at him, she wanted to ask him. She wanted to get everything out in the open.

"Did you get rid of the tequila?"

Danny looked at her skeptically, "Yeah…why? Are you worried?"

"Danny…I…I…," Kathryn wanted to tell him about her conversation with Jack. "I just want you to be OK. Maybe you should see someone about what's happened."

"See someone about Raffi? Like a shrink? I don't need a shrink. I'll be fine. He was out of my life for over ten years while he was in prison and even before that. In many ways, he was already dead to me."

"Well I still think you should think about it. Maybe there is someone at work you could talk to."

"I'll think about it," Danny said as he started to slowly stroke her arms. Then he started to kiss her.

Kathryn lightly pushed him away. "I thought you were hungry."

"I am," Danny whispered as he pulled her to him again and started kissing her neck as he unbuttoned her shirt.

"Danny maybe we should talk a little more."

"I don't want talk. I'm tired of talking.I'm tired of dealing with all of this," Danny whispered in her ear. "I just want you, baby."

Kathryn wanted to stop, but she was afraid if she pushed him away that he would leave. And then he would drink. So, she let him continue. They didn't even make it to the bedroom. She woke up alone on the couch. He must have moved her there before he left, because the last thing she remembered was being on floor with him above her.

And now Kathryn was worried because, before this, he used to always stay the night. She couldn't remember the last time he didn't stay with her after. If he had to leave for some reason, he would wake her or leave her a note saying he had to leave for work. But there was no note. He was just gone. And she felt empty. She should have been honest with him. She should have forced him to face the truth. She knew in her heart that Danny was out there somewhere getting drunk, and slipping further and further away from her.

Kathryn didn't see Danny for three days after they slept together. He called her and told her he was busy with a case. He didn't say anything about leaving in the middle of the night. The more Kathryn thought about the more she realized how different he was that night. She could almost taste the alcohol on him even though he obviously brushed his teeth right before he came over. And the way he touched her was different as well. Usually, Danny was so gentle and incredibly attentive to how she felt, but that night she felt like he was using her. She felt like it didn't matter who she was -- he just wanted a warm body.

Danny eventually stopped by her apartment one evening after work. They made plans to go to dinner. When Kathryn opened the door to let him in, she was surprised by how relaxed and happy he seemed.

"Hey. God, you look like you are feeling better," Kathryn started.

"I am. I think I just needed some time. I'm feeling good," Danny said as he gave her one of his charming smiles.

"Well, I'm glad…It's good to see you," she said as she reached out to embrace him. Danny gave her a quick kiss before walking into the apartment. That was very unusual for him as he usually kissed her passionately after not seeing her, but she didn't say anything.

"Where do you want to go tonight?" he asked.

"I haven't even thought about it. We haven't been on a date in forever."

"Let's do something fun…let's go to a club or something," Danny suggested.

"A club?" Kathryn laughed. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah…we could…you know…go dancing…just get away from things for a while."

"OK. Sounds like fun, but I was hoping we could talk. We haven't talked since the other night, and I'm just not sure where we stand."

"We'll talk later. I promise. Let's just forget about everything…and just have a good time."

Kathryn hesitated, but finally relented, "Let me change, and then we'll go."

They ended up at a very loud, crowded club. At first, Kathryn enjoyed it. She and Danny were dancing, and having a good time. He seemed relaxed and happy. Then, he led her off the dance floor to a small table. The waitress came over to the table. Kathryn ordered a club soda. She expected Danny to order his usual mineral water, but instead he told the waitress he wanted a shot and a beer. He was so casual about it -- like he ordered it everyday.

Kathryn asked, "Danny, what's going on? You never drink."

"It's just taking the edge off for a while. It's nothing. Don't worry."

Kathryn's conversation with Jack ran through her head. Maybe Jack was mistaken. Maybe he just assumed Danny was an alcoholic because he didn't drink. She was trying everything to rationalize the situation.

The waitress returned with the drinks. Danny drained the shot and drank half the beer before the waitress even left the table. And then asked, "Are you ready to go back out again?"

Kathryn was concerned, but this was the first time she'd seen Danny happy in a long time. She didn't want to ruin it. So they continued to dance and Danny continued to drink. An hour later, he was drunk and having trouble standing. "I think it's time to go, Danny," Kathryn said.

"Oh come on…Aren't you having a good time? You know this would be more fun if you were drinking, too."

"One of us has to be able to get us home. Let's go."

Danny looked down at her and smiled. "OK…Let's go," he said as he touched her face.

Kathryn led Danny outside and hailed a cab. She got in the cab, and gave the cabbie Danny's address because he lived closer. As soon as Danny got in the cab, he was all over her – trying to kiss her and touch her. He reeked of alcohol.

"Danny…Danny…stop…not here," Kathryn demanded as she tried to maneuver out of his grasp.

"Come on…we've never done it in the back of a cab. I know you are shy about stuff like this, but trust me, it will be fun," Danny said as he tried to pin her to the seat.

"Danny…no…if you don't stop, I'll jump out the cab right now."

An obviously frustrated Danny let her go and sat back. "This was a lot more fun in the old days when I would go alone and hook up with a very willing club girl," Danny laughed. "I wouldn't even have to go back to my place to get laid."

Kathryn looked at him with disgust and said, "Well you can go back anytime you want, and hook up with whomever you want because I won't go with you again."

"Sounds like a plan," Danny said vehemently.

The cab stopped in front of his apartment. Danny jumped out of the cab, and started up the stairs. Kathryn planned on letting him go in alone, and head back to her place. But then Danny fell down the stairs and hit his head as the cab started to pull away. "Stop the cab," Kathryn said and she pulled out some money to pay the driver.

She got out of cab and helped Danny to his feet. When he saw that it was her, he shrugged her off of him. "Don't…I don't need your help."

"Danny, you're bleeding. Your head…" Kathryn said as she tried to touch his forehead.

He grabbed her wrist before she could touch him and growled, "I'm fine."

He held onto her wrist in a hard grip. Kathryn finally said, "Danny, let me go. You're hurting me."

He let her go and said, "Just get out of here. Just leave me alone."

"Let me help you inside, and then I'll be happy to leave."

"Fine…whatever…" Danny said as he started to stagger up the stairs.

Kathryn helped him up the stairs and into his apartment. After he entered the apartment, he collapsed on the couch. She took a moment to look around. The apartment was a mess. There were several empty bottles of alcohol littered around the apartment. He'd obviously been on a binge. Kathryn wanted to cry, but instead she went to the kitchen and wet a washcloth. She went over to Danny on the couch and started to clean his bloody forehead.

Danny had passed out slightly, but when he felt the cool cloth on his head he opened his eyes, and slapped her hand away. "I thought I told you to leave."

"I just wanted to help you get cleaned up," Kathryn replied quietly.

"I don't need you to help me," Danny said in an angry tone. Then Danny stood up and walked toward the bed, "You know what, baby – the only way you could ever help me is to let me screw you. So if you want to help me…then come over here and take off your clothes."

Kathryn was stunned. She wanted to run away, but she couldn't move. So Danny continued his drunken rant as he walked toward her, "You've always been so easy. From the first night, I knew I could have you anytime I wanted. And I knew I could make you do things you never dreamed of doing before. So what's different now?" He asked as he stood inches from her face.

"You're a drunk. I didn't know that before. I know that now," Kathryn replied trying not to cry.

Danny laughed an almost maniacal laugh. He looked scary with the blood still seeping from his head wound. "You have no idea who I am. I'm not a drunk."

"Yes, you are. Jack told me you were in AA. He told me you were sober for eight years. What happened? I don't understand…"

Danny blew up, "SHUT UP! I'm not a drunk. I can handle it. I don't need you or Jack or anyone else. I never have. I've always done better on my own."

Kathryn had never seen him this angry. He was scaring her as he hovered over her. She backed away from him, and then quickly ran out the door.

After that night, Kathryn knew in her heart that it was over. She wasn't strong enough to be with Danny anymore. It would be easy for her to stay with him, and not confront him. She didn't want to abandon him, but he was giving her no choice. She couldn't watch him destroy himself.

Danny made it easy for Kathryn to move on. He didn't call her. He didn't try to apologize. He didn't try to see her. Kathryn felt he clearly didn't want her anymore. So this time, it was easier for her to get over him. At least, that's what Kathryn tried to tell herself. If she ever found herself missing him, she would just think of the awful things he said to her the last night she saw him. And while she knew that wasn't the Danny she loved, it was a part of him, and she could never be with someone who could be so hurtful even if he was drunk.

So Kathryn just tried to appreciate the good times and the good memories. A couple of months passed, and she was so busy with work she barely had time to think about him. She was working on a major death row case. Her days were filled with reviewing evidence, jury selection and witness preparation. She barely had time to eat or sleep. While she appreciated being busy, the work and lack of sleep was starting to catch up with her. One afternoon, she actually found herself falling asleep with her head on her desk when she heard a knock on her door.

She quickly lifted her head up and was very dizzy, but she called out, "Come in."

Samantha Spade and Martin Fitzgerald walked in her office, Danny's co-workers. Samantha started, "Hi, Kathryn…um…we were hoping to talk to you for a few minutes."

"Hey," Kathryn replied still a bit disoriented. "If you need a warrant or something, you'll have to go through ADA Cranson. I'm kind of busy…"

"It's not about a case," remarked Martin.

"It's about Danny," Samantha said quietly.

Kathryn's heart sank, "Is he…is he OK?"

"Oh yes…it's nothing like that. Well, actually, we are worried about him…rather Martin is worried. I just want to prove him wrong," Samantha said as she smiled and glanced at Martin.

"Let me explain," Martin said. "The past couple of months, I've noticed Danny slipping. It wouldn't be so noticeable except usually Danny doesn't make mistakes. Sure, sometimes he acts on impulse and something doesn't work out. But, he's never sloppy. Lately, he's been late a lot. And he's just not the same."

Samantha interjected, "I think he is just going through something personal, and maybe he just needs time. We all go through hard times, but Martin seems to think…"

"Why are you asking me?" Kathryn asked. "Why do you think I would know about Danny?"

Samantha and Martin glanced at each other, and then Samantha said, "Danny's an irritatingly private person. He usually doesn't tell us anything. But I saw you a few months ago at the courthouse. I saw there was something between you, so I kind of bugged him until he admitted you two had dated."

"That was a long time ago."

"I know, but he really seemed to care about you so I was hoping at the very least you two were still friendly, and maybe you could shed some light…"

"No," Kathryn said quickly and she stood up. "I can't do that. We broke up a while ago. We don't talk ever. So, I couldn't tell you what is wrong with him." Kathryn lied. She knew Danny was still drinking. Kathryn was starting feel nauseous at the thought of Danny and all the memories.

Then Martin said, "Are you sure? We're thinking…or I'm thinking, actually, that he is drinking and that's why…"

Samantha glared at Martin, "We said we weren't going to go there."

Martin responded, "What else could it be, Samantha? One day he's fine, and the next he seems completely hung over. It's not a stretch."

Kathryn watched them as they argued over their co-worker. Samantha didn't want to believe that Danny had fallen so far probably because she has known him longer. She wanted to see the good in him. Martin was clearly more skeptical. Kathryn wasn't listening to them anymore. She was feeling more and more dizzy. She braced herself on the desk, and then sat down quickly.

Samantha noticed her go down, "Are you OK?"

"I…uh…I haven't eaten. I've been working non-stop on this case, and I think it's catching up with me."

Martin looked at her with concern and said, "And we aren't helping at all. Obviously, Danny isn't your concern anymore. We shouldn't bother you. Samantha just thought you could give us some insight."

Kathryn nodded, "I'm sorry I can't help." She couldn't tell them the truth. It wasn't her place anymore.

Samantha touched her arm, "You need to get some rest, and something to eat. Can we get someone for you?"

"No, I'm fine," Kathryn replied as she grabbed some crackers out of her drawer. "Just low blood sugar."

"We are really sorry that we bothered you. We didn't mean to pry or bring up bad memories," Samantha said as she and Martin headed for the door.

"You didn't. I'm fine."

Martin and Samantha said goodbye. Kathryn put her head back down on her desk. She decided that she needed to get away from the city. As soon as the case was over, she was going to take a long vacation.

Later that afternoon, Kathryn was in court interviewing potential jurors. She was having trouble focusing. As she was asking a question, the judge interrupted her and told her she had asked the same question twice.

As she looked up at the judge, about to respond, the room started to spin. Before she knew what happened everything went black.

Kathryn woke up in the emergency room. She panicked because she couldn't remember anything. Shelly, her friend from work, was standing outside the curtain. Kathryn called out in a hoarse voice, "Shelly?"

"Hey…you gave us all a scare. You went down like a ton of bricks, and hit your head."

"How long have I been out?"

"A couple of hours."

"The trial…I have to get back…"

"Whoa…girlfriend, you need to take it easy. Cranson is taking over. He'll be fine. You need to get some rest and EAT!"

Kathryn noticed the IV in her arm. "Why I am hooked up to all of these machines?" Kathryn asked looking around.

"I'm not sure. Your doctor is on her way here. Maybe it is because you hit your head. They said you might need to stay over night."

"Oh no…"

"You'll do whatever they tell you to do. Do you want me to call anyone? Your parents or Danny?"

Kathryn shook her head. Shelly still didn't understand why she and Danny broke up. Kathryn didn't tell her the truth. So Shelly still bugged her about getting back together with him. "I'm fine. Please don't call anyone."

Just then, Kathryn's doctor walked in, "I hear someone is forgetting to take care of herself."

"Dr. Waters, it's no big deal. I just skipped breakfast."

"Well, let me be the judge of that," the doctor responded as she looked at Kathryn's chart. The doctor then addressed Shelly, "Would you mind giving us a minute. I just need to examine our patient."

Shelly just smiled and walked out and the doctor closed the curtain.

"God, you look so serious. I'm not dying, am I?"

"You never went back on the pill after you and your boyfriend broke up, did you?"

"No, I told you there was no reason for me to stay on it if we weren't together."

"Did you start seeing someone else?"

"No. I was on the pill when Danny and I were dating. I stopped…and…" Kathryn hesitated. She remembered the two times they had sex after his brother died. "Oh God…"

"You are about 8 weeks along," the doctor said with a look of concern.

Kathryn started to cry, "It was twice. We got back together for a week or so after his brother died. And then…it didn't work out."

"Well, it only takes once."

Kathryn sat up in the bed, "Is that why there are all these machines?"

"Yes, generally, they take more precautions with someone who is pregnant. And it was imperative that they re-hydrate you. Your nutrition in the first tri-mester is very important. You can call my office. We can get you in soon for your first pre-natal appointment. We'll do an ultrasound…"

"I can't."

"What?"

Kathryn looked at her doctor as tears rolled down her face, "Patricia, I can't have this baby."

The doctor sat on the edge of bed and took Kathryn's hand. "Are you sure? You should probably talk about it with your boyfriend. You've always said that you wanted children."

"I do…I did…God I used to watch Danny when we would watch TV or watch him tell a story, and I would imagine what our children would look like. A little boy with Danny's smile…a little girl with his eyes. But now, it's just not the same. He's not a part of my life anymore. I can't tell him about this."

"Why don't you take a week to think it over? I'll have my secretary send you some brochures to look at. If this is still what you want, then we'll schedule it."

"I don't think I can wait…"

"You'll have to, Kathryn. This isn't something you can rush into. After you look at the brochures, call me if you have any questions," the doctor said as she patted her hand. "You'll stay the night, and they will discharge you in the morning."

Kathryn nodded. She couldn't say anything else.

After Kathryn got out of the hospital, she tried not to think about it. She tried to forget there was a life growing inside her – a life she and Danny created. But every morning she was reminded when she could barely make it to the bathroom to be sick. She mentally cursed herself for letting Danny back into her life even for a short time. She finally received the brochures from her doctor: Abortion and Your Body, Your body-Your decision. She read them over and over. She never imagined herself the type of woman to have an abortion. She always thought it was for promiscuous women. And even though she started sleeping with Danny so quickly, Kathryn never thought of herself as promiscuous. This just proved to her that she was completely wrong.

Knowing there was a part of Danny inside of her, she started to think about him more and more. For Martin and Samantha to come to her, Danny must be in a lot of trouble. Part of her wanted to reach out…just to see how he was. But she knew if she saw him again that she could never go through with the abortion. After the week passed, she called her doctor to make the appointment. Her doctor couldn't fit her in for another another week. If Kathryn didn't know better, she would have thought the doctor wanted her to think about it more.

Kathryn finally went back to work after taking a week off. ADA Cranson took over her murder case. At one point in her life, she would have fought to get it back, but she was so exhausted she didn't even care anymore. She met with her boss first thing that morning to get a new assignment.

"Good morning. How are you feeling?" her boss asked.

"Not too bad. Still a little shaky, but I'll be fine."

"I thought you would have been pissed about Cranson."

"If he needs my help, I'm here. But to be honest, I could use the break. In fact, in a couple weeks, I may need to take another week off…if that is OK?"

"No problem. You have the time to take. Why don't we keep your workload light then."

Kathryn nodded appreciatively.

"Billings is starting prep work on the Randall case. It was a kidnap/ransom. Are you familiar with it?"

"Yeah," Kathryn remembered that Danny worked on the case. They got the girl back, but it took them months to find the kidnapper.

"He needs help with the depositions. This was a complicated case. A lot of agencies were involved in getting the guy. Here's a list of names. Shelly has already set up depo times. They will come to you. Sound good?"

Kathryn scanned the list of names and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn't see Danny's name. "Sounds fine. Thanks."

Kathryn went back to her office to prepare for the depositions by reviewing the case file. She spent the day taking statements from various law enforcements officials and witnesses. Towards the end of the day, ADA Billings called her.

"Hey Kathryn. How are the depositions coming?"

"No problems so far. The case is looking tight," Kathryn said wearily.

"Do you have time for one more? I have time for one more, but then I have to get home to watch my kid's soccer game."

"It's good to know you have priorities in order, Phil," Kathryn said in a slightly sad tone. "I'd be happy to help."

"Great can you come to my office around five? I'll leave it open. I haven't been able to get a hold of this guy to cancel."

"No problem."

"Thanks, Kathryn. Bye."

"Bye."

Kathryn gathered her briefcase and purse, and left her office. She figured she could take the deposition and leave straight from Billing's office. With any luck, she'd have her feet up in a warm bath by sundown.

She set up in Billing's office, and opened the file he left for her. As she read, her heart started beating faster and faster. The deposition was for Danny Taylor. He was testifying about finding the girl. Billings had all the questions prepared. Kathryn panicked. She couldn't face him. She quickly started to gather her things. She planned on leaving and then telling Billings that she got sick and had to go. She'd call Shelly to come down and let Danny know that Billings wasn't available. She started to open the door to leave and there he was standing right in front her…his fist up ready to knock on the door.

Kathryn was speechless.

Danny just looked at her, and then looked at the office door to make sure he came to the right place. "I thought I was meeting ADA Billings," he said coldly.

"You were…he…uh…he had to get home, so he asked me to take this, but I didn't know it was you until just now."

"So you were trying to make a fast getaway."

"Look…let's just re-schedule this. Billings can do this tomorrow, probably."

"No can do…I have to get it done today. I'm busy for the rest of the week."

"There's no one else around who can do this tonight."

"Well, I guess we'll just have to suffer through it," Danny said as he slid passed her and entered the office.

Kathryn, all of the sudden, felt a wave of nausea. She mentally scolded the baby inside of her for giving her this reaction. She took a deep breath and turned around. She set her briefcase and purse back down on the desk and took a seat. "I have a list of questions for you. We'll put you on tape. I need your voiced acknowledgement on tape that you will answer completely and honestly. I'm starting the tape now."

Danny made a statement into tape. Kathryn tried to be as professional and matter-of-fact as possible. It helped that Danny was being the same. He didn't smile. He didn't make any jokes. He just answered each question. Kathryn couldn't help but notice how different he looked. He looked exhausted and run-down. Of course, she probably looked the same to him, but for different reasons.

After he answered the last question, Kathryn said, "That's it. We're done."

Danny nodded. "That was easy enough," he said as he got up.

Kathryn was mentally fighting herself, but something made her ask, "H-H-How are you?"

Danny looked at her with little expression and replied, "Fine."

"You don't look fine," she said without even thinking.

"Thanks, but I didn't ask your opinion," Danny responded as he was turning to leave.

"I don't know how I could have been so stupid to fall for you. I thought it was the drinking that made you a cold bastard, but clearly that just comes to you naturally," Kathryn said finding more confidence with every word.

Danny turned around and said, "Do you really want to get into this? Believe me, you don't. So just let it go. You don't know me. You never did."

"I know a lot more than you think. I'm sure that dealing with your brother brought up a lot of bad memories. So you wanted to forget…you wanted to forget about all the pain. I could have helped you, but you chose alcohol."

"What the hell do you know?" Danny smirked.

Kathryn hesitated. In her head, she knew she should let it go. But her heart needed her to tell him. "I know that you were abandoned after your parents died. I know that you didn't have anywhere to go, and you couldn't rely on your brother. I know that even though you couldn't depend on him, you still tried to help him. And you paid for it. That's how you got the scar on your stomach. I know that in your whole life, there was really no one you could depend on but yourself. So you probably started drinking to numb the pain…to feel less alone. What I don't know is why you couldn't depend on me. I wanted to be there for you."

Danny started to look angry and walked closer to her, "Someone's been doing her homework, but you still don't know the half of it."

"I'm sure I don't. And now I never will," she said in a small voice as Danny came within inches of her.

As he approached her, something in him softened. For a moment, Kathryn thought he was going to kiss her. So she backed up slightly to brace herself on the desk. But he didn't go any further. Instead he just whispered, "You're right. You never will."

It's was all Kathryn could do to keep her composure knowing that his child was inside of her…knowing that in a few days she would kill their child.

As Danny turned to walk away, he knocked her purse off of the desk. He bent down, on polite instinct, to pick it up. Kathryn cried out, "No, I'll get it." But it was too late.

Danny picked up the purse and the two brochures that fell out. He put the purse down, but kept the brochures in his hand. As he looked at them, he said, "What the hell is this?"

"It's nothing. They're for a friend," Kathryn replied, but knew she didn't sound convincing.

"For a friend?" Danny asked skeptically. "Are you pregnant? Were you pregnant?"

Kathryn put her head down. She didn't know what to say.

"Tell me the truth," Danny demanded.

Kathryn finally asked, "Why do you care? You don't want me anymore. Why would you want our child?"

"Our child…," Danny looked like he had been punch as the realization hit him.

Kathryn took the brochures from him and stuffed them in her purse. Then she made an effort to move past him, but he grabbed her. "Were you going to tell me? Or…"

"No, I wasn't."

"Have you had it yet?"

Kathryn knew it would be easier to lie and say yes, but she couldn't so she said, "No. I have an appointment next week. Let me go, Danny." He still had a tight grip on her arm.

"No…we need to talk about this," he said desperately.

Kathryn laughed, "Oh…we need to talk about this? About this? We can't talk about anything that involves you or your problems, but now…"

"This isn't a problem. It's our baby."

"Don't all of the sudden get sensitive about this when you've been treating me like I meant nothing to you for the last two months. You don't have the right. Now let me go or I will scream."

Danny finally loosened his grip, and she slipped out of his arms. She started to back away from him towards the door. Before she could leave, Danny said, "So, that's it."

"Yes. That's it. I've made my decision. Please respect that, and just leave me alone," Kathryn said as she walked out the door.

Kathryn had a very rough few days leading up to her doctor's appointment. Seeing Danny was the hardest thing she'd ever gone through. Knowing that he knew what she was doing was killing her. But he didn't call her or try to see her again. Kathryn was thankful for that. Of course, she didn't need him to make her feel guilty because every morning she had a reminder, as she was violently ill with morning sickness. She actually started talking to the baby in hopes that the sickness would stop. She would say things like, "You are really making me pay, aren't you?" and "You clearly have your father's stubborn streak." Kathryn knew this was dangerous, but she couldn't help it.

On top of the daily conversations, Kathryn also started to have vivid dreams about Danny. They weren't so much dreams as they were vivid memories of their happiest times together. It seemed like every time she closed her eyes, he was there. It didn't help that all she wanted to do was sleep. The night before her doctor's appointment she had the most vivid memory yet. She remembered a night after they were together for about two months. Danny got off work at a decent hour, and she planned an attempt at domesticity by cooking him a gourmet dinner. As Kathryn slept restlessly, she remembered:

Kathryn was in the middle of chopping vegetables, and creating a sauce when she heard a knock at her door. It was only 6 o'clock. Danny usually never got there before 7. Her hair was a mess, and she had an old stained t-shirt on to cook in. She planned on taking a shower and getting ready before Danny got there, but there he was at the door.

"Hey, beautiful," Danny said casually as he walked in.

"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here yet."

Danny looked at her with a slightly hurt expression, "Do you want me to leave?"

"No, of course not. I just wanted to…you know…make things perfect before you got here," Kathryn replied in exasperation as she self-consciously folded her arms across the ratty t-shirt.

Danny laughed as he pulled her into his arms and said, "You are already perfect."

Kathryn looked at Danny's face and smiled, "Oh please, you are perfect with no effort. I take a little work."

Danny then kissed her as he closed the door. His hands started to roam all over her body, as Kathryn just got lost in his kiss. And then he pulled away and said, "Is something burning?"

Kathryn, a bit disoriented from a lack of oxygen, replied, "What? Burning?? Oh my gosh…the sauce." She flew out of his arms and ran to the kitchen. "I'm burning the sauce. See what happens? You're a distraction, Danny Taylor."

Danny walked into the kitchen as he removed his coat and tie, and unbuttoned his dress shirt. "Sorry to distract you. I promise I'll behave so you can focus on…what are we doing exactly?" Danny asked as he surveyed the mess.

"I'm cooking."

Danny grinned, "Cooking? Are you sure you're not building a bomb?"

Kathryn took the knife she was using to cut the vegetables, "Don't get cute, Danny. This is not my area of expertise. I deliver passionate arguments in court. I can cross-examine a criminal in to confessing. But I can't master the art of béarnaise sauce."

"Well, I don't know, this is looking pretty good. Is it supposed to be purple?"

"Danny…" Kathryn said disappointedly as she took the sauce and poured it down the drain.

"What? I don't care if you can cook. I like take-out."

"That's not the point. I wanted to show you my domestic side. I wanted you to see that there was more to me than some hard-nosed lawyer."

Danny walked toward her, slowly removed the knife her hand, and put his hand on the small of her back. As he pulled her to him, he said in a low, sexy voice, "Believe me…I know there is a lot more to you."

Before he could kiss her again, Kathryn pushed him away, "I'm not giving up on this."

Danny sighed as he let go of her, "Well, if you aren't giving up then I guess I will have to help."

"You cook?"

"A little."

"Really?"

"Yeah…I've been on my own a long time. You learn a lot when you don't grow up in the lap of luxury."

"Are you saying I'm spoiled and that's why I'm having trouble?" Kathryn asked with a teasing scowl.

"No…spoiled? You? Of course not…just a little pampered maybe," Danny joked.

Kathryn laughed and watched as Danny took over. Within an hour, he had dinner under control. Kathryn marveled at Danny as she walked back into the kitchen after taking a quick shower, and changing. "Well, color me impressed. You are a man of many talents."

"You don't know the half of it," Danny responded as he turned around to look at her. And then he heard a song come on the radio that he turned on while cooking. It was Van Morrison's, In the Mystic. "This is a good song," he said as he took her in his arms to start dancing.

"I love this song. And you are talented…a great dancer to boot," Kathryn said as she looked in his eyes.

They danced until the song ended and then started to kiss passionately. Kathryn was so aroused; she was ready to let Danny do whatever he wanted right in the kitchen. But Danny restrained himself and said, "You ready for dinner?"

"Um…OK…as long as we can continue this later."

"Oh we will…don't worry. I have very specific plans for you tonight," Danny replied charmingly.

As they ate, Kathryn was completely impressed with the dinner. "This is amazing."

Danny smiled as he watched her eat.

"I mean…thank God you can do this. At least, I know our children will never go hungry…" Kathryn said this without even thinking. The words just slipped out. And she desperately wanted to unsay what she said. As she looked at Danny, she bit her lip.

Danny just laughed, but didn't say anything.

Kathryn finally said, "I didn't mean…that was silly thing to say."

"No, it was fine. Don't worry."

"That's what I get for practicing domesticity. I get baby on the brain," Kathryn said digging herself into a deeper hole.

Danny smiled again and looked down.

"Do you want kids?" Kathryn asked deciding the conversation couldn't get any worse.

Danny looked up a bit surprised, "I…uh…I haven't really thought about it. I like kids."

"You're really good with them. You were good with Jimmy Wilkens."

"That's different. When I see a child in trouble, it just…it really bothers me. Those are the worst cases for me. But I'm not sure if that is an indicator of what kind of father I would be," Danny said quietly obviously thinking about something very personal.

Kathryn kind of got lost in what he was saying, and again without thinking she whispered, "You're going to be a great father."

"That's nice of you to say. Do you want some more vegetables?" Danny said trying to change the subject.

"Sure…," Kathryn said with a smile.

Back to present

Just as Kathryn was deep into her memory she heard the high-pitched buzz of her alarm clock followed by a wave of uncontrollable nausea. As she knelt in front of the toilet, she remembered that today was the day. Today was the day she was going to kill their child.

Kathryn slowly showered and dressed. Then she left her apartment and got in a cab. She met Shelly at her doctor's office. "Thanks for meeting me, Shel." Kathryn didn't want to tell anyone, but she needed someone to help her get home. She couldn't tell her mother or even her sister about his, so she asked Shelly.

"Of course," Shelly replied quietly. Then they walked in to the building.

They sat quietly in the waiting room until Shelly finally asked, "Kathryn, I don't want to cause you any pain. But I just have to make sure you know what you are doing. Have you talked to Danny?"

"You don't know…you don't know what happened between us. I can't have his baby," replied Kathryn in a small voice.

Shelly didn't say another word. She just sat with Kathryn until the nurse called her name.

Kathryn walked back to the exam room with the nurse. The nurse walked her through the whole process. They would give her a light sedative and then begin the procedure. The nurse made it all sound so clinical like she was having a mole removed. Kathryn didn't have a problem with abortion in moral since. She was always pro-choice. She just always thought that she would choose life for her child. She never thought she'd be having this "procedure." The nurse then left the room so Kathryn could change into a gown.

After Kathryn lay down on the table, her doctor came in. "Kathryn, how are you doing today?"

"I'm OK."

"Did the nurse explain everything?"

"Yes."

"Do you have any questions?"

"No. Let's just get this over with," Kathryn said trying to push the thoughts of Danny and the baby out of her mind.

"OK. Nurse, please administer the sedative."

The nurse then injected something into Kathryn's arm. Within seconds, Kathryn started to feel relaxed. She closed her eyes as the doctor started to prep for the procedure.

As soon as she closed her eyes, she saw Danny. She then tried to open them so he would disappear but she couldn't. She thought she was having a memory of her and Danny in Central Park. They were having a picnic. They were looking at something in the distance and laughing. Only, Kathryn couldn't remember ever going on a picnic with Danny. So she thought she must be dreaming. She tried to wake herself up, but she couldn't. She and Danny were laughing. He wasn't holding her hand. Suddenly, he kissed her quickly on her neck and told her that he'd be right back. She watched Danny walk over to the little boy they were watching. The little boy was trying to fly a kite, but couldn't get it to stay in the air. She watched Danny help the little boy. Together they made the kite fly high in the air. The boy became more and more excited. He started to wave at her, and he said, "Mommy look…mommy look. Daddy helped me make the kite go really high." Kathryn realized she was dreaming about Danny and their child. She wanted to wake up so badly. She started to cry.

All of the sudden, she heard a whirring sound. She remembered the nurse described this sound. The procedure was beginning. Kathryn opened her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Kathryn…Kathryn, are you ready to begin?" her doctor asked.

Kathryn returned home from the doctor’s office and crawled into bed. She stayed there for at least twenty-four hours. She only left the bed to grab pints of rocky road ice cream from the freezer. She knew she should attempt to get up and take a shower, but she didn’t have the desire to do anything.

At least the visions of Danny eventually stopped. He was no longer in her dreams. At first, she was thankful. But, then started to miss seeing him. She was in the midst of a restless sleep when the phone rang. The clock said 7:15 p.m. She answered the phone in a startled tone, “Hello.”

“Kathryn? Is that you?” a woman asked.

“Yes, who is this?” she responded in exasperation.

“It’s Samantha Spade. Um…we didn’t know who to call…he doesn’t have anyone else….” Samantha said, but she couldn’t complete a sentence. She was clearly upset. Kathryn could tell she was crying.

Kathryn wanted to hang up the phone. She didn’t want to hear what Samantha had to say. She knew it was bad news.

Samantha finally continued, “Danny was in an accident, or maybe it wasn’t an accident. We’re not sure what happened yet…there was an explosion…and…”

“He’s dead.” Kathryn finally whispered.

“No…oh God…I’m sorry, Kathryn. No, he’s at St. Vincent’s hospital. They brought him to the emergency room about fifteen minutes ago. But they don’t know if he’s going to…” Samantha started to cry again.

“I’m on my way,” Kathryn said right before she hung up the phone. She quickly dressed and put her hair in a ponytail. She was at the hospital in less than twenty minutes.

Kathryn walked into the ER and started looking around for Samantha or Martin…someone who could tell her something. She finally went to the nurse’s desk and asked, “Danny Taylor? Can you tell me how he is?”

“Are you family? They said he didn’t have any family.”

“I’m…um…I’m his girlfriend.”

The nurse hesitated, but then could see Kathryn’s desperation. “They are still working on him, honey…in Trauma Room 3 right down there,” the nurse said as she pointed down the hall.

“How…How is he?”

“I don’t know. If he is still down here, then they are probably still trying to stabilize him.”

“Thank you.”

Kathryn walked slowly down the hall. As she turned the corner, she saw Jack and Samantha standing outside the Trauma Room. Jack was holding Samantha protectively. They didn’t even notice her approach them. They were watching through the glass as the doctors were shocking Danny’s heart. Kathryn saw the flatline on the machine. She quickly became faint and sank into a chair. He was dying or already dead. Kathryn started to cry for the first time since Samantha called her.

Jack turned at the sound of her sob. He sat down next to her and took her hand. “They are still working on him. It’s not time to lose hope yet.”

Just as Kathryn leaned in to Jack’s chest for support, Samantha said, “I think they got him back. They are working on him again.”

Both Jack and Kathryn stood up as they started to bring Danny out of the Trauma Room. Jack then growled, “Can someone please tell us what is going on?”

A nurse said, “A doctor will be out in just a minute. We have to get him up to surgery.”

The ER doctor finally stepped out of the trauma room to address Jack, Samantha and Kathryn. “He’s stabilized. Uh…we had to insert a breathing tube. He’s on a respirator. His lungs are badly damaged. He also has severe internal bleeding. The surgeons are going to repair his lungs and do their best to stop the bleeding.”

“What are his chances?” Jack asked.

“Well, he is a strong, healthy young man. That definitely works in our favor, but he suffered some severe injuries. We won’t know until the surgeons can open him up. You can go up to the surgical waiting room, but he’ll probably be in there for several hours.”

“Thanks,” Jack said. And then he, Samantha, and Kathryn sat back down.

“What happened?” asked Kathryn in a faraway tone.

Jack started, “He and Vivian were staking out an apartment building downtown. A mother and her five year old child went missing yesterday. The mother’s ex-boyfriend used to use this apartment to deal drugs. We couldn’t find the guy, so we thought we’d see if he might bring them to this apartment.”

“At about 5:30, Vivian was due to be relieved. She had to get home for her son’s basketball game. Martin was coming down to replace her, but he got stuck in traffic. I guess Danny urged Viv to head home. He assured her he wouldn’t go in there until Martin arrived. So, she left.”

Samantha continued, “We’re not sure what happened between the time she left and…at some point, the ex-boyfriend returned to the apartment. He had the mother and child with him. Danny called Martin to see where he was. Martin was still stuck in traffic. He told Danny not to go in
without him, but then Martin said he heard a really loud explosion. Then Danny told him to call 911 and hung up the phone. Danny must have run in the building after the explosion.”

“Oh my God,” was all Kathryn could say.

“He got the little girl out right away. He went back in for her mother. When Martin got there, the little girl was sitting on the curb. The fire trucks just pulled up. The mother came running out. Martin asked her about Danny. She said they he was right behind her, but he didn’t come
out. The fireman pulled him out about five minutes later. They told Martin that Danny was lucky he didn’t burn…he fell or was pushed down a stairwell, and then the ceiling fell on top of him. It was a miracle that the firemen found him.”

“Do they know what caused the explosion? What about the ex-boyfriend?” Kathryn asked.

“Martin saw him run from the building before they got Danny out. He went after the guy, and stopped him. Martin is questioning him now. We think the guy was cooking meth in the apartment. Maybe that caused explosion, or maybe he set it himself to kill the mother and daughter.”

Kathryn put her head in her hands. She didn’t know what else to say.

Samantha then said, “We weren’t sure whether to call you or not. The last time we spoke you seemed…Well, we know that he isn’t your concern anymore. But, he doesn’t have anyone else.”

“I’m glad you called. I need to be here for him.”

“I’m going to call Martin and see what he found out. Why don’t you two head up to the surgical waiting room. I’ll…uh…bring us some coffee. It’s going to be a long night,” Jack said sadly.

“Thanks, Jack,” replied Samantha as she and Kathryn headed toward the elevator.

Samantha and Kathryn sat in the quiet waiting room. Samantha was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the silence, so she nervously started to tell Kathryn about meeting Danny for the first time. “Danny started with Missing Persons about a year before I did. We were both so
young. A lot of the people in the office didn’t think we were qualified, but I think Jack wanted a certain energy on the team. Danny certainly brought energy. I remember thinking he was the most arrogant, competitive person I had ever met.”

“I thought the same thing when I first met him. He always had to be right. It drove me crazy,” Kathryn added.

“But then we worked on this case of a missing college student. It was one of those really high-profile cases…lots of media attention. Some sick bastard kidnapped this poor girl and locked her in a cellar. And then he just left her there to die after he was done with her. Danny and I
found the abandoned house. And then we found her. The man removed the stairs from the cellar, and we didn’t have a ladder so we couldn’t get to her. We just heard her crying. I didn’t know what to do. I was still pretty new. She was terrified it was him coming back for her. I called 911, but we were in the middle of nowhere. Without even thinking, Danny jumped down in to the cellar. He sprained his ankle in the fall. He stayed with the girl until the EMTs got there. I listened to him talk to her, and he was…incredible. He even made her laugh. After that, he could still drive me crazy at times, but I could never question his heart or commitment. And over the years, even though he never tells me anything, I can honestly say he is one of my dearest friends. ”

Kathryn smiled and squeezed Samantha’s hand. “It’s funny…a similar thing happened to me. I watched Danny talk to this little boy, a witness in my case. He was so sweet and compassionate. God, that man can turn on the charm at the drop of a hat,” Kathryn said and Samantha nodded and laughed. “It’s what made me fall in love with him,” Kathryn continued in a small voice.

Samantha watched Kathryn as her eyes filled with tears. She was about to respond when they saw Vivian enter the waiting room. “Viv,” Samantha called out.

“How is he?” Vivian asked hesitantly.

“Still in surgery,” replied Samantha. “He has a problem with his lungs and internal bleeding…”

“This is my fault,” Vivian said as she sat down.

“Viv…don’t say that…you couldn’t have known.”

“I never should have left, Samantha. I never should have left until Martin got there.”

“He still would have gone into the building, Viv.”

“But I would have gone with him, and I could have covered him…What was I thinking?”

Kathryn felt awful watching Vivian’s anguish.

Vivian continued, “He was so adamant about me leaving. He was irritated. I left because, quite honestly, I didn’t want to deal with his bad mood anymore.”

Samantha then said, “Viv…he’s just been so distracted lately. It’s not your fault.”

“It’s definitely not your fault, Vivian,” Kathryn said finally addressing her. “If anyone is to blame, it’s me. I’m the reason he was distracted. I’m the reason was in a bad mood. And now, what if he dies not knowing…”

Samantha and Vivian just stared at her for a minute as tears rolled down her face until Samantha finally asked, “Not knowing what, Kathryn?”

“I’m having his baby,” Kathryn said quietly. “A couple of weeks ago I told him I was having an abortion. Things had changed so much between us. He wasn’t the same person I fell in love with.”

“He has been really different lately,” Vivian said. “We’ve all noticed, but we don’t know how to help him.”

“Neither do I,” replied Kathryn still not wanting to tell them about his drinking. “That’s why I couldn’t have his baby, but then I was at the doctor’s office and I kept seeing his face…the Danny I know and love. And I couldn’t go through with it. But I didn’t get a chance to tell
him…I’ve been wallowing in self-pity for the last two days struggling with how I am going to deal with this alone. I just should have called him. I should have told him that I didn’t go through with it. Then this wouldn’t have happened.”

Vivian and Samantha were speechless. There weren’t sure what to say during this very private moment for Kathryn. Vivian finally just took her in her arms and held her like a mother would a daughter. Kathryn sobbed in Vivian’s arms.

They sat in the waiting room for hours. Jack and Martin eventually joined them. Martin interrogated the ex-boyfriend. He finally admitted to starting the explosion, and hitting Danny with a 2X4 as he was trying to escape the fire after guiding the mother to safety.

Vivian and Samantha didn't mention the baby again. They just made sure that Kathryn ate and drank something to keep up her strength. After four hours of surgery, the doctor came out to inform them of the outcome. "So far, he is looking pretty good. We were able to repair his lungs. We just took him off the respirator, and he is breathing on his own. The dangerous part is the internal bleeding. We think we've gotten it all, but it is something we will have to monitor."

"Can we see him?" asked Kathryn.

"He probably won't wake up until morning."

"I just want to see him, if that is OK?" pleaded Kathryn.

"OK, just one of you, though. He's still in ICU."

Kathryn followed the doctor to his room. He was sleeping peacefully. He had bruises and scrapes on his face and arms. She sat in a chair by his bed, and took his hand. She must have been in there for an hour when Jack walked in.

"Hey," Jack said.

Kathryn looked up and said, "Hi."

"I sent everyone home. The doctor said that he wouldn't regain consciousness until the morning. You should go home, too."

"I can't go home."

"He doesn't even know you're here."

"I need to be here when he wakes up. I don't want him to wake up alone."

"Kathryn…"

"When he was a kid, he spent three weeks in a hospital and no one came to see him. I just don't want him to feel abandon again. And I need to tell him…"

"What?"

"I just need to tell him something. I don't want to wait anymore."

"OK. I'll…uh…I'll be back first thing tomorrow. Try to get some sleep."

"I will. Thanks, Jack.

Kathryn slept on and off with her head resting on Danny's bed. She woke up when she felt Danny's hand in her hair. Kathryn watched as Danny started to open his eyes. Danny looked at her and struggled to say, "What happened?"

"Um…you were in a fire. You had surgery. The doctor says your going to be OK."

After taking sip of water, he asked, "How are they? How are Mrs. Cole and her daughter?"

"They are both fine. You got them both out. You weren't so lucky. The firemen found you and pulled you out."

Danny seemed to have a hard time processing everything. He was very confused, so Kathryn said, "Let me get the doctor…"

"No…wait…what…what are you doing here? The last time we…"

"Danny, we can talk about it later. You need to rest."

Danny whispered weakly, "No. Not yet. I need to tell you how sorry I am…for acting the way I did. I don't blame you for…"

"I didn't do it. I'm still pregnant. I should have told you sooner, but I was scared. We'll talk more about this later. Let me get the doctor."

"OK." But before she could leave he grabbed her hand and said, "Thank you…for being here."

She just smiled and went to find the doctor.

The doctor checked out Danny, and was cautiously optimistic about his recovery. His breathing was almost back to 80%. Jack returned to the hospital, and found Kathryn again in Danny's room watching him sleep. Kathryn informed Jack of Danny's progress. Then Jack tried to convince Kathryn to go home. As they were talking, Danny woke up.

"Jack's right. You need to go home and get some sleep," Danny said as he opened his eyes.

"I will. I just want to make sure you are OK."

"I'm great…"

Jack then interrupted, "Yeah…he's great…he just needs to learn not to run into burning buildings."

Danny smiled, "Jack…you know me…I have the patience of an ant. I couldn't wait."

"Thank God, you do. Mrs. Cole and her daughter wouldn't be here if you would have hesitated."

Danny then looked down in sadness. The smile that momentarily lit up his face went away. Kathryn noticed the change, "Hey, are you OK? Do you need the doctor?"

"No, I'm OK. I just…I need to tell Jack something."

"Of course. Look, I'll take your advice and get out of here. I'll be back…" Kathryn started to respond.

"No, I want you to hear this, too. I…um…I really messed up," Danny said desperately.

"Messed up? Danny…you're a hero. What you did…was very brave…stupid…but very brave," Jack said.

"No, you don't understand, Jack."

Kathryn knew what he was going to say so she took his hand in support.

"For the past couple of months since Raffi died, I've been drinking. I've been drinking a lot. At first, I could control it. I'd only do it at night. But lately….Jack…I couldn't wait for Viv to leave so I could go into a liquor store and by something. I got out of the car and went into the store. If I would have been in there thirty seconds longer I would have missed them. They would have died in that fire."

Jack went from a confused look to a dead serious look in seconds. "How long have been drinking on the job?"

"Jack…I…"

"How long, Danny?" Jack said raising his voice.

"For the last couple of weeks…"

For the first time since she met him, Kathryn saw tears brimming in Danny's eyes. Knowing he had let Jack down was devastating Danny.

Jack didn't say anything for a minute and then said, "Look…uh…you need to focus on getting better, so we'll talk about this later. Don't tell anyone else about this. Is that understood?"

"Yes," Danny replied quietly.

"Sam, Viv and Martin are waiting to see you. I'll send them in." Jack then turned and walked out.

Kathryn looked at Danny sympathetically, "It's going to be OK, Danny. You needed to be honest. I'm going to run home and take a shower. I'll be back soon. OK?"

Danny just nodded as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

When Kathryn walked out of the room, she found Jack by the coffee machine. "Was that really necessary?"

"Kathryn, you don't understand…"

"Understand? Understand what? That was the hardest thing he's ever had to do. And he didn't even have to tell. No one would have found out, but he needs help. He was pleading for help, and you treated him like a criminal."

"I have a job to do. And you…if you knew he was drinking…you should have said something. He put lives in danger."

"He saved lives…"

"That was lucky. It could have very easily gone the other way."

"What are you going to do? Jack, he will be lost if he doesn't have this job…"

"I don't know. I don't know what I am going to do." Then Jack walked away from her down the hall.

Kathryn went home and took a shower. Then she laid down not thinking she would fall asleep, but she ended up sleeping for several hours. When she woke up, she quickly called the hospital and spoke to Vivian. She asked Vivian to let Danny know that she was on her way.

When she went back to the hospital, she walked in Danny's room. Vivian was sitting with him. Kathryn apologized, "I'm so sorry. I went home and laid down. I don't know what is wrong with me. I lost all track of time."

Danny smiled at her, "I'm glad you got some sleep. I'm sure you needed it."

Vivian got up and said, "I'll let you two have some time."

"Thanks for everything, Viv," Danny said sincerely.

"I'll stop by tomorrow."

After Vivian left, Kathryn said, "I should probably tell you…I told Vivian and Samantha about the baby. They kind of helped through an emotional meltdown. I know you don't like to tell them things…"

"No…it's fine…I'm glad they could help you. And we won't be able to hide it much longer, right?"

"Right," Kathryn said as she sat down next to him. "I had my first pre-natal appointment. Everything looks good. I heard the heartbeat."

"Really? I wish I could have been there. Maybe the next one…"

"Definitely, the next one," Kathryn smiled. "How are you feeling?"

"Better. Earlier I felt like a bus hit me…now it just feels like a small car."

"It's good to know you can still joke even under life-threatening circumstances."

"I try," Danny replied with a small smile. Then his smile turned to sadness when he said, "Jack and Viv talked to me earlier."

"Was he still pissed?"

"Yeah, you could say that. I don't think he'll ever trust me again, but he has agreed to let me stay," Danny said quietly. "I have to go to a 30 day rehab facility before he will let me come back. He said that he'll tell people I need time to recuperate from my injuries. He wants me to go as soon as they discharge me."

"Well that's fair, I guess."

"I have a feeling Viv talked him into it. I don't think he wants me back," he said sadly. "I didn't go to rehab when I quit before. I just started going to meetings. Of course, it took me four times before I actually succeeded. But I guess now I really didn't succeed at all…did I? Things got rough, and I downed the first bottle I could find."

"Do you want to tell me what happened? I mean when did you…"

"After Raffi's burial. I went to this room he was staying in…and it was all so sad. He lived such a wasted life. He has this beautiful son that he never even got to know. That little boy is never going to know his father, and all his memories of Raffi will be bad ones. And I felt guilty. I should have done more to help him. I shouldn't have given up on him. He had a bottle of tequila right there, and before I even realized it -- I was drinking it. Once I started, I didn't see any reason to stop. I blew it."

"Why didn't you ever tell me about AA…about being an alcoholic?" Kathryn asked with hesitation.

Danny smiled, "We happened so fast…you know? I didn't expect to end up spending every non-working hour with you, and then all of sudden we were together all the time. It wasn't something I told people as soon as I met them. After we got closer, I was afraid to tell you. I was afraid that you would think I was weak."

"I'm afraid now…I'm afraid that being with me put too much pressure on you. That's what made you want to drink."

"No…it wasn't you…it could never be you. I always want to drink. That's my problem, not yours."

Kathryn nodded.

"So, how are you? How are you feeling?" asked Danny as he lightly touched Kathryn's stomach.

"Ready to change the subject, huh?"

"Yeah, I want to talk about anything but me and my sorry-ass problems."

Kathryn smiled, "I'm OK, but I've been pretty sick. If having terrible morning-sickness is an indicator of a healthy child, then this child will be immune to everything!"

"That bad, huh?"

"Yeah, I'm ready for the time when I'll be feeling wonderful and maternal."

"What made you keep it?" Danny asked suddenly.

Kathryn looked down at Danny's hand, and touched it lightly. "I just couldn't…" Then she took her hand away from his, and said, "You...uh...probably need to rest, and if I don't eat something in the next few minutes, it won't be pretty. So I'm gonna go, but I'll be back."

Danny smiled at her, "Take care of yourself."

"I will. You, too."

Danny was in the hospital for three more days. When he was discharged, Kathryn wanted to take him up the the rehab facility in upstate New York. Danny told her that he needed to do it alone, but that he would love to see her when they allowed him visitors. He explained to her that getting clean had to be about taking care of himself. He couldn't do it for anyone else. He had learned that much in AA.

So Kathryn went back to work, and tried to resume her normal life knowing that in a few months her life was going to change drastically. She decided she should tell her parents and family about the baby, and it was best to do it while Danny was away. Her parents took it pretty hard. They didn't understand why she and Danny weren't rushing to the alter. Kathryn explained about Danny's injuries, and said they hadn't had a chance to talk about the future yet. But she assured her parents that Danny would be a part of their child's life, and that she was very happy with her decision. Her family finally got passed their reservations, and vowed to support her. Kathryn was thankful for that.

About two weeks into Danny's rehab, he called Kathryn to say that she could come for a visit on the weekend if she wanted to. When she talked to Danny, he sounded rundown and sad. She asked him how he was doing, and he just told her that rehab was a lot harder than he thought it would be. Danny wasn't used to failing at anything, and he was around constant reminders of his failure to stay sober. Kathryn also assumed that counselors were forcing Danny to deal with the past he fought so hard to bury. Danny told her that he couldn't wait to see her.

When she arrived at the facility, Kathryn was surprised about how much it looked like a summer camp. Kathryn was thankful that Jack didn't send Danny to a rehab that looked like a hospital. When she walked into the recreation room, Danny was sitting in a chair looking out toward the mountains. He looked like he was a million miles away. He also looked pale which was very unlike Danny. As she walked up to him, she called out, "Hey, stranger."

Danny turned to look at her. At first, it took him a second to process that it was her. Then his face lit up with one of his trademark smiles. He rose and enveloped her in his arms. Kathryn was caught off guard by the intimacy of the embrace. She hadn't felt his arms around her in months. Feeling his breath against her neck sent a shiver down her spine. She forgot how much she missed him. Danny finally said, "God...it is good to see you." Then he stepped away from her and looked her up and down. He put his hand on her stomach, and said, "I don't feel anything."

"Maybe you don't, but I do. I think I've gained ten pounds."

"You look beautiful."

"I wish I could same the same to you. Are you OK, Danny?"

"Yeah...I'm just not sleeping and I haven't been able to do many outside activities because I'm still recovering. So, I feel like death...I must look the same."

"No...I didn't mean...you just look tired. I'm just worried about you."

"Let's get out of here...all this smoke can't be good for you," Danny said as they noticed all the smokers in the room.

They walked outside, and started down a winding path toward the lake.

Kathryn started, "It really is beautiful here."

"Yeah...I always heard kids talking about summer camp when I was a kid. I dreamed about going to a place like this. Now that I'm here...it's not all it is cracked up to be."

Kathryn looked at him with concern, "Do you feel like you are getting better?"

"Yes...I guess...I mean I don't think I've ever talked so much about myself in my life. When I first got here, I went through the whole detox thing. That sucked. And now, I'm just trying to get through it. I keep waiting for this epiphany, you know. This realization of why I turn to alcohol...but I'm starting to realize that it's just this thing I have to live with, and I have to remember everyday if I have a drink...I will ruin my life."

They sat down on a bench overlooking the vast lake. Kathryn responded, "You can do this, Danny. You're the strongest person I know."

Danny looked at her and took her hand, "Let's not talk about this right now. Let's talk about something else."

"OK. Have you had any other visitors?"

"Yeah, right. Vivian called a couple of times. She told me she would come, but I know she doesn't really have the time. So I told her I could only have one visitor, and I needed to see you. I haven't heard from Jack...no surprise there. And Martin and Samantha -- Vivian told me that they know where I am -- but I won't hear from them."

"Why do say that?"

"They won't know what to say to me. To be honest, I don't know what to say to them, either. They all knew something was wrong with me, but I just pushed them all further and further away. I said a lot of mean things to them while I was drunk or hungover. To tell you the truth, I probably should just ask Jack for a transfer..."

"No...they love you, Danny. They want you back."

"I'm not so sure..."

Kathryn heart was breaking as she looked into his dark eyes. Those four people were the closest thing to a family that Danny has. "I'm sure."

Danny smiled at her, and said suddenly, "Do you want me back?"

Kathryn had to look away from him. She couldn't look in his eyes as she replied, "Danny...I...don't..."

Danny interrupted, "Before you say anything, let me say something..."

"No...this isn't the time..."

"It is the time. I can't waste anymore time," he said as his hand tighted around hers. "You are having my child, and I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. When I thought you were having an abortion...I hated that I made you feel like that. That I made you feel like you didn't want our baby..."

"I never felt that...I just didn't know what else to do."

"Well...how ever you felt...I'm glad we are going to be parents. I love you, Kathryn. And I want us to be a family. I know this isn't the best place to ask you this and I'm not really prepared..."

"Danny...don't...not now..." Kathryn pleaded.

"Marry me, baby. I love you. I love this baby," he said as he laid his hand on her stomach.

Kathryn looked at him as tears rolled down her face. "I can't."

"Baby..." Danny said as he pressed his forehead to hers, and then tried to kiss her lightly.

"No, Danny," Kathryn said as she pulled away. "You have to understand. I will always love you. And I know you will be an amazing father to our child, but I can't marry you now. We rushed into things...obviously. From the moment I really looked in your eyes, I knew I wanted to be a part of your life. And the moment you first touched me, I knew that I loved you. But too many things have happened..."

"I'm doing the best I can to fix that..."

"I know...and that's why this is so hard because I don't want to make this worse for you. But maybe you don't remember how bad it got...the things you said to me...and most of all, the way you just completely bailed on me...and to be honest...you bailed even before you started to drink. I can't let that happen to me again, and I won't let it happen to our child."

Danny raked his hands over his face and hair, and then stood up. "I would never do anything to hurt our baby...I would never..."

"You said you would never hurt me, too"

Danny turned away from her to look at the lake and then confessed quietly, "My father drank. When he drank...he was always looking for a fight. I've been talking a lot about him the last two weeks. It's amazing the stuff you remember when you just let yourself. He would come home, and just start yelling about nothing. My mother or brother would hide me in a closet. My mother actually put a lock on the closet so I wouldn't come out. And then after he passed out, she would come get me...and she or Raffi would have fresh bruises. A couple of times, they didn't get me in the closet in time. Or, he would come home before my mother would and Raffi would be playing outside. I didn't even have to do anything to annoy him...he would just be so angry. I never could figure why he was so angry...and I couldn't understand why he enjoyed hurting us."

Kathryn stood up and tried to put her arms around him, but he shrugged her away and continued, "I'm not like that. I'm not like him, Kathryn."

"I know," Kathryn whispered.

"I may have said some things I shouldn't have...I know that...but it was because I needed you to go away. Don't you understand? I didn't want to hurt you. I didn't want to become my father...so I had to push you away. I would never touch you like that...and I would never hurt our baby...I promise...I promise."

For the second time ever, Kathryn saw Danny with tears in his eyes. He dropped to his knees in front of her and held her around her waist with this head buried against her stomach.

After a few moments, Kathryn slid down to face Danny. She lightly touched his face and said, "I'm not saying we will never happen. I'm just saying I need time. And so do you. And maybe this time, we need to take things slower. And the thing is Danny...I think that I need to build another kind of relationship with you. Maybe we need to focus on our friendship. We've never done that before."

Danny looked down, and smirked, "You just want to be friends."

"For now...and don't forget, we will be raising a child together. So we will be a family...whether we are together or not."

Danny stood up, and then helped her to her feet. Kathryn could tell Danny was still not happy about her decision. "I think that visiting hours are over, so I should probably get you back. And I'm sure I'm late for some sort of group activity."

Kathryn smiled sadly as she followed him back to the center.

Before Danny left her, he said, "Listen...uh...I should probably just focus on finishing rehab...and starting AA when I get back. So, you probably won't hear from me..."

Kathryn nodded, "I understand. You can call me whenever you are ready."

"Thanks for coming. Take care," Danny said as he turned to enter the facility.

Kathryn walked back to her car and fought back tears as she drove back to the city. She knew she did that right thing for all of them: herself, Danny and the baby.

TBC

Kathryn felt good about her decision regarding Danny even though she knew he wasn't happy with it. He was never the type to settle for anything less than what he wants. And, Kathryn knew that his passionate nature would make it very difficult for him to cultivate only a friendship with her. But she knew in her heart, this was the only way they could build the type of relationship they would need to be successful parents. And she truly didn't doubt that Danny would be a great father.

Since Kathryn agreed to give Danny the time to recover, she didn't call him to let him know that her ultrasound appointment was just a few days after he returned from rehab. Instead she sent him a copy of her pre-natal calendar. It detailed all the important dates of the pregnancy. She marked the day of the ultrasound in bright read ink, and put the address and time with a note that said, "I really want you here for this."

On the day of the ultrasound, Kathryn was worried because she still hadn't heard from him. He didn't leave her a message saying he would go with her or even that he would meet her there. She waited nervously in the doctor's office. Everytime the door opened, she looked up hoping it was Danny. When the nurse called her name, she walked sadly back to the exam room. Her doctor entered the room cheerfully after Kathryn had put on a gown. "Good morning, Kathryn. How are we feeling?"

"Not bad."

"How about the morning sickness?"

"It's pretty much gone. I'm pretty much hungry all the time now."

"Your weight and measurements look good. Let's take a look, OK?"

Kathryn nodded as the doctor started the exam. After Dr. Waters finished, she asked, "OK, are you ready to take a look at the little one?" As Dr. Waters started to pull the ultrasound machine toward her, Kathryn looked down sadly. "Hey, this is supposed to be an exciting moment. Why the sad face?"

"It's nothing...I just asked Danny to be here, and he's not...here," Kathryn said quietly.

"Do you want to call him, or maybe give him a few more minutes?"

"No, he knows...if he's not here...it's because he doesn't want to be."

"OK," Dr. Waters replied hesitantly. "Let's get started." She rubbed some gel on Kathryn's now slighly protruding stomach. Just as she was about the start the ultrasound, there was a knock at the door. "Come in."

"Dr. Waters," the nurse said. "There's a Danny Taylor out here. He says he's here for Ms. Kelly's appointment."

Dr. Waters looked at Kathryn to seek approval. Kathryn nodded to let Danny come in. When he entered the room, he immediately said, "I'm sorry that I'm late. I...uh...had to go to the office this morning...and got held up there...I'm really sorry."

Kathryn noticed how agitated Danny seemed, so she didn't want to make a big deal about his tardiness. "It's OK. You're here now. This is Dr. Waters."

"Nice to finally meet you, Danny. We were just getting started. Why don't you take a seat next to Kathryn?"

"Nice to meet you too, doctor," Danny responded as he sat next to Kathryn and smiled at her slightly.

Then the doctor started to roll the scanner across Kathryn's stomach. At first, they heard a fast, beating noise. Kathryn smiled widely, "That's the heartbeat, right?"

"Yes. It's very strong," Dr. Waters replied.

"Wow..." Danny said as he looked at the screen, and then looked at Kathryn as his eyes finally lit up in a appreciative smile.

Dr. Waters continued, "OK, here we go. There's the head, and see the little arm hiding the eyes. This one is playing peek-a-boo."

As Danny and Kathryn watched the image on the screen, Danny took hold of Kathryn's hand and intertwine their fingers. "That is unbelievable," he said in amazement.

"Have you two decided if you want to know the sex?"

Kathryn shook her head, "We haven't had a chance to talk about it. What do you think?" she asked as she looked at Danny.

"You know me. I hate surprises, and it will drive me crazy not knowing. But, I'll do whatever you want, babe."

Kathryn laughed a littled, and then said, "We should probably find out. Danny will probably launch some covert operation to find out on his own if we don't find out now."

Dr. Waters smiled, "Well as I said, here's the head, the torso, the legs, and if you look right there..."

Danny laughed, "Huh...it's a boy right? Gotta be boy. If it's a girl, we have a problem."

"Very observant, Agent Taylor," the doctor commended. "It's a boy."

Kathryn and Danny had full-blown smiles. They were giddy with happiness. Danny looked down at her, and kissed her on the lips. "We're having a little boy," he whispered.

Kathryn looked in Danny's eyes, and realized it was much easier to follow the "just friends" rules while he was in rehab.

As they left the doctor's office, Danny couldn't take his eyes off the ultrasound pictures. "I just can't believe it. This is really happening. A boy..."

"Danny, I think that's the fiftieth time you've said that. I take it your happy with the outcome."

"Oh...I would have been happy either way. But I'll admit this, having a little girl as beautiful as you would have driven me crazy in about fifteen years."

"I'm glad it's a boy, too. Now, we'll just pray everything keeps going well, and he is healthy."

"Amen to that."

They walked back to her apartment, and then Danny said, "I have to get back to work. I wish I could stay...we could celebrate."

"That's kind of fast, isn't it? I thought Jack would want you to take it slow."

"Oh don't worry...he is taking it slow. I'll be chained to my desk until junior goes to high school if Jack has anything to do with it."

Kathryn laughed, then asked, "Is that why you seemed so irritated this morning?"

"It's just hard...no one knows what to say to me. Jack is only talking to me through Viv, and Martin and Samantha are treating me like the plague. I just wonder if I should be there at all."

"Just give it time. It will get back to normal."

"You know what, after this morning...I don't even care. All I care about is you and this baby...everything else pales in comparison," Danny said as he embraced Kathryn.

As much as Kathryn wanted to return the embrace, she had to set boundaries. So she quickly pulled away from him. "Danny..."

"I know...I know...we're just friends. It's just hard to get used to. I'll try harder to not want to touch you or kiss you everytime I see you. I actually talked about this in rehab, and my counselor agreed with you."

"Really? Agreed with me?" asked Kathryn.

"Yeah...I shouldn't jump into any relationship for at least a year. My counselor conceded that having a baby with someone would make it kind of hard, but hell...all of this is hard. So, I just need to get used to it."

"So you're not mad at me, anymore."

"I wasn't mad...just a little hurt. My ego...which as you always remind me is the size of Texas...was bruised a bit. But don't worry...I'm on board the whole friendship train. I'm ready to be whatever you need to get you through this."

"Thank you. You don't know what that means to me."

And Danny stayed true to his word. He was supportive and there for Kathryn at every turn, but restrained himself from getting physical. It was strange for Kathryn as well. She was so used to tactile Danny...part of her missed it. And even though Danny adhered to the friendship rules, he still joked about their platonic relationship every chance he got.

As the months of her pregancy passed, she and Danny became great friends. They got to a know each other on a level neither of them knew existed. And even though, they started out in a far more intimate relationship, they were never as close as they were now. Danny helped her get the nursery ready. They went to Lamaze class together. They stayed up talking nights when she was too uncomfortable too sleep. He finally opened up to her about much of his past. He filled in the blanks that she didn't find out herself. And even though Danny didn't move in with her, he found himself sleeping on her couch more often than not.

In her eighth month of pregancy, Kathryn found herself very uncomfortable, but incredibly happy. She was smiling as she walked carefully down the hall of the courthouse. As she turned the corner towards her office, she walked right into Martin Fitzgerald. As she collided with him, he grabbed her arms to brace her. She smiled apologetically, "I'm so sorry, Martin. It seems no one can stay out of my way these days. I'm kind of hard to miss."

Martin smiled, "Wow...I didn't realize you were so far along. You look great."

"Yeah, right. Actually, I still have a full month to go but I don't know how much more I can grow."

Martin asked, "You want to sit for a minute? You look a little out of breath." Kathryn nodded and then Martin helped her sit down on the bench.

"You know you'll have to sit with me. I won't be able to get myself back up if you leave," Kathryn stated seriously as Martin took the seat next to her.

"So, how are you feeling? You do look great, honestly."

"Thank you. I'm feeling really good."

"Are you going to work up to your delivery?" Martin asked skeptically.

"I'm going to try. I think that's the only way we can afford for me to take a full six months off. Now I know why people get married...it's much cheaper."

"Sad, but true. I have to tell you...I've never seen Danny happier. Even before...the problems...he was never this happy."

"Yeah...we are really having fun with it. I can only hope the fun continues after we meet the little guy."

"I'm sure it will."

"Can I ask you a question?" asked Kathryn.

"Sure." replied Martin.

"How is he doing...at work? I mean...how are things with Jack? He doesn't want me to worry about his work stuff."

"Uh...well...it took some time, but Jack and Danny are pretty much back to normal. Danny's back in the field...thank God...and things are pretty much the way they used to be."

"Hmmm...pretty much, huh? I think it's the percentage of error that worries Danny. It's that slight thought in the back of everyone's mind that he will fall a part again. If it's any consolation...I think he is much healthier now than he ever was before."

"I would tend to agree. I think we all trust him again. It just took some time."

"Good. That's really good to hear. He needs that trust."

"I honestly couldn't believe it when Samantha told me about you. I had no idea. Danny doesn't exactly broadcast his personal life, but it would have nice to know he was going to be a father."

"Well...he is getting better at that if you can believe it. I think having a child will help him even more."

"So, will it be Danny, Jr?" asked Martin playfully.

"No...that is the one name he vetoed right away. We are kind of in a name war now. He insists on what he calls a 'tough' name. Whatever that means...but it definitely doesn't mean Oliver or Simon. It's like he thinks we are going to raise the kid on the 'Mean Streets.' We may never agree."

Martin rose as he replied, "You'll have to eventually. It was nice to talk to you, but I have to testify downstairs in ten minutes."

"You, too...Martin. Um...you know I was serious when I said I would need your help to get back up," Kathryn said sheepishly as Martin took her hand and helped her to her feet. "Thanks. Bye, Martin."

"Bye."

Kathryn felt a little better about Danny's work situation after she talked to Martin. When he talked about transferring, she was terrified that would mean transferring out of the city. She didn't know what she would do if she had to go through all of this on her own. Danny was truly a godsend. That wasn't more evident several weeks later when Kathryn found herself two weeks late. She finally stopped working, and Dr. Waters told her if she didn't start labor naturally by the end of the week, they would have to induce. Danny had temporarily moved in to her apartment since she was due to deliver anyday. She was laying on the couch, miserabley uncomfortable, as Danny was trying to massage her aching feet.

"I don't think I can do this anymore. Every part of me hurts. I can't get comfortable...," whined Kathryn.

"It's a little late for that now, baby...I think you are in it for the long haul," Danny responded as he was reading one of her expectant mother books.

Kathryn frowned, "I think God is punishing me...he's punishing me for having a child out of wedlock. You know I was talking to my mother today, and she intimated the same thing."

Danny gave her a sidelong glance and smirked, "You are not being punished. The kid just likes it in there. Who wouldn't? It's safe and warm. He gets to hear me tell him funny jokes, and sing him little songs..."

"Yeah...I'm sure that's what is keeping him in there....your jokes and songs. Actually, you may have a point...he may be afraid to come out knowing he's in for a life filled with the jokes and songs."

Danny said, "Ha-Ha...you know maybe it's not happening because he doesn't have a name. This book says that sometimes mothers don't go into labor until all major decisions are made. The only thing we haven't decided is the name."

"Don't say that, Danny. I can't think about the name anymore. If we have one more argument about it, I think I may have to kill you."

"I know...why do you think I've started to lock up my gun?" Danny joked. "But for the record, you can't beat a name like Deke...no one will mess with a kid named Deke. Trust me."

"We're not naming him Deke..."

"Here we go...Here we go...I got it...I have the answer. You will love this," Danny said excitely as he read the book.

"What...what is it?"

"Another good way to naturally induce labor...sex."

"Danny..." Kathryn said in exasperation.

"What? I'm serious. This is like the third book I've read that says having sex induces labor. I wouldn't have mentioned it unless I researched it thoroughly," Danny responded with innocent look.

"You don't want to have sex with me, Danny. It would like having a sex with a whale."

"No, not me...we're just friends, right? I was going call Mr. Hilliard down the hall. He seems up for the task."

"Ughh..." Kathryn gasped as she softly kicked Danny.

"Jokes...just jokes. I'm here all week," Danny laughed. "Seriously, if you want to...I'm up for it. No strings."

Kathryn looked at him as he was giving her one of his charming smiles. Part of her wanted to say yes...not just to induce labor, but to just feel him again. But she ended up just laughing it off, "I appreciate the offer. I know it would be a hardship for you, but I'll figure something else out."

"OK...but it's a standing offer...anytime," he added sincerely.

It turned out they didn't need to induce at all. Kathryn's water broke that night. She called out to Danny in a panic. Danny took control. He helped her get dressed, got her bag, and got them in a cab within ten minutes. Once in the cab, he started to keep track of her contractions. She would grab hold of him tightly every time a contraction would occur. By the time they got to the hospital, she was crying because of the pain. When they got her to the room, Danny said, "Look you have to give her something for the pain."

"Her chart says she wants to try natural childbirth," the nurse replied.

"I know...but this isn't natural," Danny said as he watched Kathryn curl up in a fetal position.

"Sir, the contractions take some getting used to. Let's give her a few more minutes. Then if she wants an epidural we will give her one once the doctor arrives."

After nurse left, Danny sat next to Kathryn and stroked her hair. "Are you sure you don't want something for the pain, baby?"

Kathryn shook her head, "They say it is healthier....oh....God...here's another one. Oh...Danny...it hurts...." Kathryn grabbed Danny's hand and squeezed as they both tried to breath through the pain.

"It's going to be OK. I'm right here," Danny said soothingly. After the contraction was over, Danny asked, "Do you want me to call your parents or Shelly?"

"No, I just want this to be us...no one else. We'll call them after, OK?"

"Yeah...that's fine," Danny replied with pride as he saw how much trust she had in him.

They spent the next five hours breathing through contractions, and taking walks in the hall. Danny read to her, and they had a few more fights about the name. And then finally, the doctor said she could start pushing. Danny never lost eye contact with her as she squeezed his hand. Then she pushed once more, and the doctor said, "It's a healthy boy."

Danny and Kathryn both were laughing and crying at the same time as they watched Dr. Waters put the baby on Kathryn's stomach. Then Dr. Waters handed Danny a pair of scissors to cut the cord. They held the baby for a few minutes, tears streaming down both their faces, until the nurse took him to clean him up. Danny finally looked at Kathryn and said, "You are amazing." And then he kissed her.

"I love you, Danny."

"I love you, too, baby."

They both knew they were caught up in the moment, but didn't care. A few minutes later, the nurse brought the baby back, and put him in Danny's arms. "Hi, I'm your father. And I will always be here for you no matter what. We are going to have so much fun together."

Kathryn watched as Danny marvelled at his son. And then he placed the baby in Kathryn's arms. Dr. Waters called out, "Well, mom...everything looks good. You just need to get some rest. Have you two decided on a name yet?"

Danny shook his head, but Kathryn said, "I think we have."

"When did we decide?" asked Danny.

"I'm making an executive decision. I don't think you can argue with me after what I just did."

Danny nodded, "You are absolutely right. So, what is it?"

"Michael...Michael Kelly Taylor."

Danny smiled hearing his last name. He wasn't sure Kathryn would go for that since they weren't married. And honestly, he never had any real connection to his last name from his foster parents. But hearing it now...made him very happy. "I love it. It's perfect."

"Tough enough for you?"

"It'll do...don't worry...he and I will work on the touch part together," Danny said as he looked at the baby.

Dr. Waters intervened again, "We're going to take him to the nursery for a few minutes. And then, we will bring him back. Kathryn, you need to get some sleep."

As they started to wheel the baby out, Danny started to follow. Kathryn asked, "Where are you going?"

"Well...I can't leave him alone. Do you know how many times last year babies were taken from a nursery..."

"Danny..."

"What? It happened eight times last year in Manhattan alone...usually by a staff member," he whispered. "I'm not taking any chances. You get some sleep. I'll call your parents, and then I'll come back with Michael...OK?"

"OK...Mr. Overprotective."

Danny walked out, and Kathryn smiled as she started to fall asleep.

Danny and Kathryn took baby Michael home from the hospital after a short hospital stay. At first, Danny stayed at Kathryn's to help with the baby. They resembled most normal families with newborns -- a young, sleep-deprived couple just trying to keep it together. Danny went to work everyday, and then would hurry home to see Kathryn and the baby. Danny loved being a father, and he loved living as a family. But he was still sleeping on Kathryn's couch, and making frequent trips to his apartment for changes of clothes.

Kathryn was exhausted, but incredibly happy. She loved having Danny there. He was very helpful and attentive. Most nights when Danny wasn't working he would wake up with the baby, and bring him to Kathryn so she could breastfeed in bed. She felt so lucky that she and Danny were able to establish such a strong friendship. She never thought they would ever get to that place considering their history. She loved watching Danny with the baby. Sometimes after she finished feeding the baby, she would pretend to fall asleep. Kathryn would watch Danny gently lay the baby on his bare chest, and rock him in the chair next to her bed. Kathryn's heart ached as she watched this.

One evening when the baby was about six weeks old, Danny and Kathryn were on the couch watching a movie as she was feeding the baby. They were sitting a part from each other. As Kathryn breastfed Michael, she became very aware of Danny watching her. She glanced over at him and said jokingly, "What? Is the movie not holding your interest?"

"Not really," Danny said softly as he continued to watch her. "You know you have never looked more beautiful than you do right at this moment."

Kathryn smiled disbelievingly and shook her head, "Please, Danny. You don't have to show me mercy just because I am nourishing your child." Kathryn couldn't believe him considering she still had fifteen pounds to lose, she hadn't worn make-up in over a month, and her hair hadn't come out of a ponytail in days.

"I'm serious. I thought you glowed when you were pregnant, but now...motherhood agrees with you."

Instead of calling him crazy, Kathryn decided to just accept his attempt to make her feel better. "Thank you," she said as she stood up with Michael and took him to his crib. "He should be good for the next few hours." Then she collapsed back on the couch as she and Danny settled in to watch more television. But she didn't last very long. Within minutes, Kathryn's eyes were closed, and she unconsciously curled herself right next to Danny. He fell asleep shortly after she did.

About an hour later, Kathryn woke to find her head resting against Danny's chest. Her hand had somehow found its way under Danny's shirt resting on his stomach. As she started to remove her hand, Danny started to wake. She looked up at him hoping to feign ignorance. Their eyes met and locked for several seconds before Danny started to kiss her on instinct. A sleepy Kathryn responded to the kiss without thinking. Then Danny deepened it and pulled her closer to him running his hand up and down her spine. Kathryn shivered in his arms. Then he started to touch her intimately in places that drove her crazy. It was all Kathryn could do to come to her senses and pull away. "Danny, we can't."

"I know. It's too soon after the baby. We won't go very far...I promise," Danny pleaded as he started to pull her back to him.

But Kathryn resisted, "No, I mean we can't at all."

"You can't tell me you don't want this. I can tell just by looking at you that you do," he said as he touched her cheek.

"That's not the point."

"What is the point?"

"I don't want to ruin what we have. Everything is so good right now. We'll ruin..."

Danny interrupted. "We'll ruin what? Our 'friendship'? Why can't we be both? Friends and lovers...I promise you won't regret it," he said seductively as he tried to lean in to kiss her again.

But Kathryn stood up to put distance between them. "It's not a good idea. We have to think of Michael."

"I am thinking of Michael. And thinking of us. And I'm thinking we should just make this happen. You, me, Michael...make us an official family."

Kathryn shook her head, "It's too soon. I'm scared..."

Danny stood up then too and said angrily, "Scared of what? Of me? What else do I have to do to prove that I'm committed to staying clean? I'm doing the best I can...I wish I could make some sort of guarantee, but that's not the way it works. I can't do that. You just have to trust me."

Kathryn looked down as tears brimmed her eyes, but didn't respond.

Danny finally said, "You don't trust me...do you?"

"You are a great father. I trust that, but I just need more time."

"Fine...whatever...I'll give you all the time you need," Danny said as he started to walk out.

"Danny, don't leave..."

"Since he's sleeping through the night, you really don't need me here at night anymore. I'll move my stuff back to my apartment tomorrow. We should probably set up some kind of schedule...a visitation schedule that works for both of us."

"Don't do this..."

"Don't do what? I can't keep deluding myself thinking this is going to lead somewhere when clearly it's not. I'm not an idiot, Kathryn, and I don't want to play house anymore. I can take a hint. I'll call you tomorrow."

And then he was gone. Kathryn was left wondering if she'd made the biggest mistake of her life. She knew that Danny couldn't be patient forever, but she was so scared of letting him back into her heart.

Danny stayed true to his word and moved out of her apartment. They worked out a schedule for Danny to see Michael most evenings and on weekends. To put distance between them, Kathryn decided to run errands during some of his visits. She realized it was unfair of her to ask Danny to be around them constantly, and not want more. As Michael got older, Danny started to take him to his place for overnight visits. As much as this broke Kathryn's heart, she knew it was necessary for Danny to be an active father.

When Michael turned six months old, Kathryn returned to work. Returning to work made it nearly impossible for her to see Danny on any kind of regular basis. She didn't have to work to put distance between them. It was there because they didn't have time to see each other. Their encounters were limited to handing Michael off at her apartment door, and their weekly trip to the zoo. She and Danny committed themselves to spending one family day a week with Michael. This was very different than the times they spent together while she was pregnant and right after Michael was born.

One afternoon, Kathryn was leaving one of the courtrooms at the FederalBuilding to head back to her office. She had a hard day in court. It was her first case since being back from maternity leave. As she walked down the hall, she caught sight of Danny waiting for an elevator. She started to walk quickly to catch up to him, but stopped cold when she noticed a young woman standing next to him. Kathryn recognized her as one of their new paralegals, Stacy. She couldn't have been more than 22. She and Danny were talking intensely. She recognized the look on his face very well. It was that charming, flirtatious gaze that could always make her melt. Stacy playfully straightened Danny's tie, and he smiled at her before they stepped on to the elevator together. Kathryn felt sick to her stomach as she returned to her office.

"Hey Kath, how was court?" asked Shelly.

"Um...it was...it was...fine, I guess..." replied Kathryn completely distracted.

Shelly looked at Kathryn curiously, "Did you see a ghost or something?"

"Do you know that new paralegal...Stacy?" asked Kathryn quietly.

"Uh...not really...um...why do you ask?" Shelly replied guiltily.

Kathryn looked at Shelly skeptically, "Oh God...you know something, don't you?"

"No, I don't know anything.... for sure."

"Tell me..." pleaded Kathryn.

"You don't want to know...and it is just talk...you know how this place is..."

"Just tell me, Shelly. Please."

"I had lunch with Lori from Traffic the other day. She said that Stacy was asked to assist on the Bronson kidnapping case. Lori was saying that ADA Williams just recruited her because she looked good in a skirt...you know? Anyway, she sat in on a deposition with Danny last week. Lori said Stacy couldn't stop talking about him when she and Stacy went out for drinks that night. I guess Stacy said that she asked Danny out, and he said yes."

"Seriously? He is dating some 22 year old?"

Shelly interjected, "I don't know if they are dating, Kathryn. I don't even know if they went out."

"Oh...they went out. I just saw them in the hallway together. They looked quite…close. That means he's sleeping with her..."

"You don't know that."

"Oh yes, I do. This is Danny we are talking about. If she's was willing…which I'm sure she was…then he slept with her." Kathryn said sadly.

"You know he still loves you. All you would have to do is say the word...and he would come back to you."

"I can't do that," Kathryn whispered. "And I can't stop him from moving on with his life...even if it is with some nympho cheerleader."

Kathryn returned home that evening. Her mother was taking care of Michael for her during the day. She picked Michael up out of his playpen, and held him close. Then she sat him in front of her on the floor to play.

As her mother watched them play, she said, "You know he looks more and more like his father everyday."

Kathryn nodded and smiled slightly as she watched Michael and replied quietly, "I knew he would. I hoped he would."

"That's one good thing you can say about Danny. Michael will definitely grow up to be a handsome young man."

"Mother...don't start...there is a lot more to Danny that just his looks."

"Well it would be nice if we got to know what more there is to know. I just don't understand what could have happened between you two. I don't understand why you're not married yet."

"I told you...it was my decision."

"Yes, but Danny must of done something...he must of hurt you in some way. You were crazy in love with him one minute, and the next you were pregnant and alone."

"Danny's been with me every step of the way. I'm not having this conversation again, especially not in front of Michael," Kathryn said annoyed as she picked him up and went to the kitchen to feed him.

Her mother then changed the subject, "OK, well if there is no reconciliation in sight between the two of you, maybe you should consider dating someone."

"When am I supposed to do that? I barely have time to shower," Kathryn said as a picture of Danny and Stacy flashed in her head.

"I can watch Michael one evening. It will be nice for you to get out."

"Get out with whom, mother? There really aren't many prospects for single, working mothers."

"It's funny you should ask..."

"Oh no. I think I've been baited into something," Kathryn said as she looked at Michael and smiled. He was smearing green beans all over his face.

"There's an accountant in your father's office. You actually met him at the Christmas party a couple of years ago. His name is Evan Wyatt. He liked you when he met you at the party, but you only stayed for a half an hour because you had to meet Danny somewhere. Do you remember him?"

"Vaguely." Kathryn actually didn't remember him, but she humored her mother.

"What would be the harm in going to dinner with him? He knows you have a son, and I think he is still interested. What do you think?"

Kathryn laughed as she played peek-a-boo with Michael. "I guess it couldn't hurt. I'll give it a shot. One date, and I can't make any promises."

"I'll give him your number."

Kathryn ended up going on a few dates with Evan Wyatt. While he wasn't the most exciting person in the world, he was very sweet and seemed willing to take things slow. One night, Kathryn found herself getting ready for her third date with Evan. They were attending a charity function with her parents. Kathryn felt uncomfortable as she slipped into a short black cocktail dress. She hadn't gotten dressed up like that in ages. She was also nervous because it was Friday, and Danny was supposed to pick up Michael thirty minutes ago. He called to tell her that he was running late. The problem was that she didn't want Danny to run into Evan. She desperately wasn't ready for Danny to know that she was dating even if she knew about his new relationship.

As Kathryn was putting on her heels, she heard Danny come in the door. "Hey. Sorry I'm late," Danny said as he walked back to her bedroom.

"It's OK," Kathryn said in a slight panic as she gathered Michael's overnight bag and handed it to Danny.

Danny had already scooped up Michael from his playpen. "Hey buddy...you ready for the weekend?" he said as Michael laid his head on Danny's shoulder.

"He's already eaten. So, he'll just need his bottle before bedtime."

Danny nodded, "I know." And then he noticed the black dress. He looked at Kathryn up and down. "Look at you. You look great. Hot date?"

Kathryn laughed. "No...don't be silly...my parents have this charity dinner. I'm tagging along with them. You better get going. It's getting dark, and Michael will get cranky if you keep him out too long," Kathryn said as she tried to usher Danny to the door.

"Good for you. I hope you have a nice time. It will be nice for you to get out..." Danny said as he opened the door to leave. After he opened the door, he saw Evan standing on the other side. Then he looked at Kathryn who looked like a deer caught in headlights. Danny just smiled, and asked Evan innocently, "Can I help you with something?"

Evan looked slightly confused as he saw Danny holding Michael, and Kathryn looking panicked.

Kathryn finally explained, "Danny, this is Evan Wyatt...um...he and I...um...we are meeting my parents at the charity function. Evan, this is Danny...my...um...Michael's father." As Kathryn looked at the two men, their physical differences were glaringly obvious. Evan was a good four inches shorter than Danny. His sandy hair and glasses were a sharp contrast to Danny's dark chiseled features.

Danny still smiling held out his hand to Evan, "Nice to meet you, Evan."

"You, too. It's good to finally meet you. You have a beautiful boy here. Now I see who he resembles."

Danny's smile faded slightly as he realized that this wasn't their first date. "Thanks...uh...we should probably get going. You two have fun. Give your parents my best, Kathryn, and I'll call you tomorrow."

Kathryn couldn't meet Danny's eyes. She just quickly kissed Michael and said goodbye as Danny walked out.

Kathryn considered breaking it off with Evan after the charity event, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings. And part of her thought that it was good to move on from Danny. As friends, things had never been better between them. Danny was more open with her now than he ever was when they were lovers. And she would hate to lose him forever. If they got involved again, and things didn't work out she would be devastated if their relationship suffered. Especially since they now had Michael to consider.

When Evan dropped her off after the charity event, she finally let him kiss her. He wanted to come inside, but Kathryn told him she wasn't ready. While the kiss was OK, she couldn't help but compare it to the passion she felt when Danny kissed her, or when Danny just looked at her. The more she thought about it, the more she felt like she needed to experience someone else. She'd never be able to move on from Danny unless she did. And there had to be more to a relationship than passion and great sex to make it work in the long run.

The following Monday she planned on meeting Danny at his office so they could take Michael to his check-up together. While she dreaded seeing him, she knew she couldn't cancel. She hesitantly stepped off the elevator at Danny's floor with Michael in her arms. When she saw Danny through the windows, part of her wanted to run away, but she didn't get a chance because she was met by Vivian and Martin.

"There he is…Danny said you were bringing Michael. Oh…he's gotten so big," Vivian exclaimed as she took him from Kathryn.

"Hasn't he? I don't know where the time is going," replied Kathryn.

"How's it been for you since going back to work?" Martin asked as Vivian became entranced by the beautiful little boy.

"It's all right. It's incredible the way you re-prioritize. Work used to mean everything to me…and now…I just can't wait to get home."

"I can imagine. He's definitely a little Danny…does that mean he is outspoken and impatient," Martin said with a smile.

Kathryn laughed, "Only when he is hungry…so far." Then the three of them walked into the bullpen area.

Samantha and Danny joined them as they entered the area. "OK…it's my turn, Viv," commanded Samantha.

"It seems we have started a commotion. I hope we aren't interrupting," asked Kathryn as she looked at Danny.

"No, it's fine."

Samantha then asked, "Has Jack seen him?"

"Not yet," Kathryn replied.

"Viv…let's take him to Jack's office. If you have time…"

"We have time," Danny answered looking at his watch.

Vivian and Samantha took Michael to Jack's office while Martin took a phone call at his desk leaving Danny and Kathryn alone.

"So…did you have a good weekend?" asked Danny sarcastically.

"It was fine. My mother said you and Michael had fun together."

"Yeah…we went to the park and fed the pigeons…he was crazy about it."

Kathryn smiled uncomfortably.

"So were you going to tell me about him, or did you plan on keeping him a secret."

Kathryn looked down, "This isn't the time…"

"It's as good a time as any," replied Danny seriously.

"There's nothing to tell."

"If he's been around my son, then I have the right…"

"He hasn't been around OUR son. He's only seen pictures. He wouldn't have seen him at all if you had been on time," Kathryn replied icily.

Danny nodded and smirked, "Yeah, right. That was a nice little plan."

"Look, it's nothing serious. We've only been out a couple of times."

"I bet it's a lot of fun…I hear accountants are a barrel of laughs."

Kathryn looked at Danny with a surprised expression, "How did you know he was an accountant?"

Danny looked around as if trying to look innocent. "You mentioned it the other night."

"No I didn't. I know exactly what I said. Believe me…I've been replaying it in my head all weekend. So…how do you know?"

"I thought he had been around Michael…"

"So?"

"So, I…uh…I may have run a little background check on him."

"You what?" asked Kathryn incredulously.

"I just wanted to make sure that…you know…he wasn't a pedafile or something. So I did the requisite check for a criminal record…and financial history…"

"You looked at his financial history? What are you thinking? That's a major invasion of privacy," Kathryn said as she raised her voice slightly.

Danny took hold of her arm and leaned into her. "Keep your voice down. Do you know the trouble I could get in?"

"Yes…yes I do."

"Look, it's fine. OK…I didn't find anything major. He did get a drunk and disorderly when he was in college…and according to his credit cards….he's kind of cheap. He buys a lot from Costco…"

Kathryn interrupted, "Danny…I don't want to know…what did you expect to find?"

"You'd be surprised. Some of the most normal-looking guys charge all kind of crazy stuff on their credit card…What if he was looking at kiddie porn on the Internet? Wouldn't you want to know that?"

Kathryn just shook her head and let out an exasperated sigh, "You are unbelievable…" Just as she was about to continue, Vivian and Samantha returned with Michael.

"I think I might have to take him home with me," Samantha said. "He is an angel."

Danny responded with a smile, "Did you expect anything less?"

"From you…you bet. He may be your carbon copy, but you are very lucky that he has Kathryn's disposition," Samantha added as she reluctantly handed Michael over to Danny..

Danny looked at Kathryn and replied, "I know. I'm a lucky guy."

Kathryn then said, "We should get going." She, Danny and Michael left for the doctor's appointment.

Kathryn was very angry at Danny for doing the background check. She felt like he didn't trust her judgement. And she was still bothered that he was dating the 22 year old even though he hadn't mentioned it to her yet. All of these things were on her mind as she was talking to her mother one day after work.

"I'm just feeling restless and agitated lately. I can't seem to just relax, you know. Everything is so busy with Michael and work...and Danny is being...ugh..just frustrating...," Kathryn complained as her mother fed Michael who was now close to 9 months old.

"I know you what you need, but you won't want to hear it from me," her mother said.

"What...tell me. At this point, I'll try anything...but don't tell me I need a vacation because I don't have the time or money to take one."

"No vacation...you need to get laid my dear," her mother said with a sly smile.

"Mother...gross...you are right. I didn't need to hear that from you, and not in front of Michael," Kathryn whispered.

"Kathryn, get a grip. Michael will be OK. It's been a long time...right? Probably since Michael was conceived."

Kathryn didn't respond as she remembered the frantic few nights she and Danny made love after his brother died.

Her mother continued, "I thought that something would happen between you and Evan."

"Mother...it's not that easy. I can't just spend the night with someone. I have a child to think about, and there's Danny."

"What about him? Darling, you have to move on. He is a part of your past. I'm glad he is a loving father, but clearly something is missing between the two of you or you would be together right now. You can't factor him in to your romantic relationships. I'm sure he isn't factoring you into his relationships."

Kathryn thought about Stacy. Even if he wasn't with her, chances were he was with someone else. She couldn't imagine Danny staying celibate for a lengthy period of time. "You're right. I can't think about Danny anymore."

"Alright. Now this Thursday, I'm going to babysit Michael. You and Evan are going to go out, and you don't have to be back until morning. It's not one of Danny's weeknights, so you won't have to deal with running into him. You can just go out and see where the night leads."

"I don't know..."

"Kathryn, you need a fresh start. Evan Wyatt is a nice, young man. He may not be mysterious and handsome like Danny. He may not sweep you off your feet like Danny did. But sometimes settling for someone who is stable and kind is the right thing to do. I think Evan will surprise you."

Kathryn did think that Evan was a nice guy, but she wasn't too sure he'd be full of surprises. However, she was willing to see where the night would lead.

So Kathryn found herself a nervous wreck as she sat through dinner with Evan on Thursday night. She was never good at this...never good at flirting or dating in general. That's why it was so easy with Danny. He made everything easy. Kathryn mentally chastised herself for letting him enter her thoughts. She couldn't think about him...not tonight. She tried to follow what Evan was saying, but nothing was making sense. She was trying to focus, but everything seemed cloudy. She was greatful when dinner was over, and they walked outside. The fresh air cleared her head.

Evan hailed at cab, and they got in. The cab driver asked, "Where to?"

Kathryn looked at Evan shyly, and said, "Why don't we go to your place?"

Evan could hardly contain his excitement as he gave his address to the driver. Then he settled back into the seat with Kathryn. She smiled at him demurely, and then he leaned in to start kissing her. The kissing wasn't bad, but Evan seemed to want to makeout in the back of the cab. He was all over Kathryn. It seemed that telling him to go back to his place was his signal to jump her bones. Kathryn finally had to push him away when he started to lick her neck and chest area. "Listen, can we just...um...wait til we get back to your place. I just don't feel comfortable here," Kathryn said not wanting to offend him.

"Oh sure. I'm sorry...I just...I've just wanted you for so long."

Kathryn smiled, and silently thought about killing her mother.

When they got back to Evan's apartment, they continued to kiss on his couch. Kathryn tried to relax. She tried to just surrender. But nothing felt right. Everything Evan tried made her tense. It didn't help Kathryn that he seemed intent on using his tongue to practically bathe her. Kathryn finally just had to push him away again. "Look, Evan, I just don't think I'm ready for this. I'm sorry."

Evan looked at her disappointed and little irritated. "Uh...it's OK. Do you want me to take you home?"

"No, I'll just grab a cab," Kathryn said as she started for the door. "I am sorry. I didn't mean to lead you on."

"It's fine. I'll call you tomorrow."

"OK."

Kathryn left and took a cab back to her apartment. She desperately wanted to take a very long, hot shower. She didn't understand why she couldn't just let things happen with Evan. She wasn't even thinking of Danny. She just couldn't get comfortable with Evan.

She was surprised to walk into a very quiet apartment. She fully expected to see her mother on the couch watching television especially since it was just before 11 p.m. She walked back into her bedroom to see if her mother laid down. Kathryn was shocked at what she saw. Danny was asleep in her bed with Michael cradled in his arms. The sight took Kathryn's breath away. She was completely confused. She walked out to the kitchen, picked up the phone and dialed her mother.

"Hello," her mother answered sleepily.

"Mother...what are you doing at home?"

"Kathryn? Well I didn't think you'd be home tonight."

"What did you do? Why is Danny here?"

"I called him to see if he could relieve me. Something came up here at home," her mother replied.

"Oh God...you did this on purpose, didn't you? You wanted Danny to be here when I didn't come home." Kathryn said angrily.

"Kathryn...I just wanted him to know that you were moving on..."

"You had no right..." Just as Kathyrn was about to lay into her mother, she saw Danny walk into to the kitchen. He was rubbing his eyes and yawning. "I'll talk to you tomorrow, mother."

"Kathryn?" her mother continued.

"I can't talk to you now. I'll call you tomorrow," Kathryn said as she hung up the phone and then addressed Danny, "I'm so sorry. She should never have called you."

Danny shrugged. "No worries. I didn't expect you home. She told me you would be out late or not home at all," Danny said as he smirked.

"She shouldn't have...It wasn't her place to tell you anything."

"Are you OK?"

"I'm fine," she replied irritated. "Is Michael OK?"

"Yeah, he's great," Danny replied.

"You know you really shouldn't let him fall asleep with you like that. It makes it harder for him to sleep on his own," Kathryn said wanting to talk about anything but her evening.

"It was one time...I don't think it will scar him for life."

"Well I'm sorry she called you, but thanks for taking care of him. I can take it from here," Kathryn said shortly.

"What's wrong with you? Why are you so mad?"

"I'm not mad. I'm fine."

Danny nodded, "What? Did he want to have sex with you tonight?"

"That's none of your business."

"You couldn't do it, could you?"

Kathryn frowned and responded, "How do you know I didn't? Maybe I did sleep with him. Whether I did or not...it's not your concern."

"You didn't. I know you didn't."

"You don't know anything," Kathryn said in a frustrated tone as Danny moved closer to her.

They were standing so close to each other that Kathryn could feel the heat coming from Danny. She tried to back away from him but ended up backing into the kitchen counter. He put his hands on either side of her so she couldn't move away from him.

Danny smiled and whispered, "Yes, I do. I remember...I remember how you look after you have an orgasm. I remember your scent. I can remember being so turned on by how you looked and felt after that I would want you again right away. I know you remember to. If you did have sex tonight...I don't think it was good for you."

Kathryn's lips parted. She was sure Danny was going to kiss her, but he didn't. He just backed away from her still smiling. "You are such a prick," Kathryn said as she pushed him further away.

"What? Is it my fault that Old Ev doesn't do it for you? I could have told you that, by the way. As soon as I met him, I could have told you he wasn't right for you."

"You don't know anything about me. You don't know...you don't know how hard it is. Trying to work and be a mother and a woman and...How dare you! How dare you make fun of me. I can't be casual. I just wanted...I just needed..." Kathryn started to cry.

Danny stopped smiling as he saw Kathryn get more and more upset. "Kathryn...Kathryn, I'm sorry. I wasn't making fun of you. I just don't think he is the right guy for you," he said as he tilted her chin up and wiped a tear away.

"I don't want the right guy...I just want...I just don't want to feel alone anymore."

Danny put his arms around her and pulled her to him. "You're not alone. I'm here. I'm here for you, baby."

Kathryn looked up at him, and started to kissed him. Danny immediately responded as he lifted her up on the kitchen counter. They quickly surrendered to each other, and Kathryn felt herself losing control. Before she completely lost herself, she said, "This can't mean anything, Danny. No promises..."

Danny, who was intently focused on kissing a path down her neck, replied, "No promises."

Kathryn woke up with her head resting on Danny's stomach. His fingers were tangled in her hair. Somehow they made it from the kitchen to the couch. As she pushed herself up, she felt a confusing combination of fulfillment and dread. She quietly pulled her dress back up while watching Danny sleep peacefully with a slight smile on his face. She was struck once again by how much Michael looked like him. Kathryn longed to lay back down with him, or wake him to lead him to her bed. But she knew she couldn't do that. As she slowly tried to get up from the couch, she saw Danny stir in his sleep.

Danny looked up at her with lazy, dark eyes as he ran a hand through his unkempt hair. "Are you going somewhere?" he asked confused.

Kathryn realized how silly she looked with her dress back on in the middle of the night. "Um…well…the dress actually never completely came off…so…"

"I guess we were in kind of in a hurry," he said amused as he sat up.

Kathryn looked at his unshaven face, and remembered the rough feel of it against her soft skin. "I wouldn't say you were in a hurry," she replied shyly. "I'm going to take a shower."

Danny nodded, "Do you want me to leave or do you want me to join you?"

Kathryn's heart skipped a beat. Danny always knew just what to say to make her blush, but she didn't succumb. "You don't have to leave. Michael would love to see you in the morning."

"So you want me to stay on the couch?" he asked.

"Danny," Kathryn replied in exasperation.

"If you say this was a mistake…"

"I wasn't going to say that, but I don't think it should happen again."

Danny laughed and shook his head. "You are one confusing girl. I'd get angry, but at this point…it wouldn't do any good. I'm gonna go. We probably shouldn't get Michael's hopes up that seeing me in the morning will become a habit," he said as he pulled on his jeans and buttoned his shirt.

Kathryn looked down as he walked to the door not sure what to say.

Danny then added, "You know one day you are going to stop punishing me. I don't know how many days of sobriety I'll need to have or what I'll have to say, but one day you'll want me back for good. I just hope that I haven't gotten tired of these games by then."

Kathryn looked up as Danny said his peace and then walked out. Instead of taking a shower, she laid back down on the couch and held the pillow that he just slept on. She wished that she could memorize his scent. She wished that she could memorize the feel of his body against hers. Because just minutes after he left, she already missed him.

A few days later, she entered her office after a morning in court. "Are you ready for lunch, Shelly?"

"Yes. I'm starving."

"Do I have any messages?"

"Evan Wyatt called twice. And Danny called. He said that his case wrapped up early today so he was going to pick up Michael from your mother's."

"How did he sound?" asked Kathryn.

"Which one, Evan or Danny?"

Kathryn sighed, "Danny."

"He sounded really good…sexy as ever," Shelly replied dreamily.

"God…Shelly…you are awful."

"He sounded fine. Why? Did you two get into a fight?"

"It's complicated."

"It always is with the two of you. What happened?"

Kathryn bit her lip and then admitted, "We had sex a few days ago."

"Wow…while you are still dating Evan. That is complicated, especially for you. I thought you liked Evan."

"I do. He's nice. I'm just not…"

"…Attracted to him like you are to Danny."

"Yep. It's so frustrating. I know that with someone like Evan there would no drama, no uncertainty. But I can't make myself fall for him. With Danny, it's like I don't even have a choice. It's like some chemical reaction."

"Has he said anything to you about Stacy yet?"

"No. Why? Have heard something else about them?"

"Kathryn…it's just gossip. According to my friend Lori, they are seeing each other. But this is a 22 year old girl…she could just be excited because he flirted with her a little."

"Or, she could be telling the truth. It wouldn't surprise me," Kathryn said as she felt jealousy start to swell in side of her.

"You should just ask him..."

"No, I really can't. I've been lecturing him for the past month about respecting my personal life," answered Kathryn.

"But that was before you slept together. I think that kind of gives you the right to ask."

"Maybe you're right."

Kathryn returned Evan's phone call, and he asked her out on a date for that evening. She accepted since Danny was going to have Michael at his place for the night. Kathryn wanted to try to make things work with Evan. The thought of having a nice, uncomplicated relationship was appealing to her more and more especially if Danny was moving on with Stacy. The thought of him with someone else was starting to make her crazy.

Evan took Kathryn to a movie. Kathryn was glad they wouldn't have to talk especially since they had't really talked since their failed attempt to sleep together. Kathryn felt especially uncomfortable considering she ended up having sex with Danny on her kitchen counter that same night. What kind of person had she become? She had changed so completely since Danny came into her life. As she tried to focus on the movie, Danny invaded her thoughts...his smile, his eyes, images of him and Michael, images of him making love to her. Kathryn could almost feel him inside of her. She was brought back to reality when she felt Evan take her hand. She looked over at him, and felt so incredibly guilty.

After the movie, Kathryn feigned fatigue and asked Evan to cut the night short. They took a cab back to her apartment, and she started to get out of the cab.

"Hey, wait a second," Evan said.

Kathryn turned to look at him and smiled, "Sorry, I...uh...I had a really nice time tonight."

"Me, too. I know you said you were tired, but I could come up. I'll give you one of my famous massages. Michael is with his father tonight, isn't he?"

"Yes, he is, but I wouldn't be very good company tonight. I'm sorry."

"We wouldn't have to talk," Evan said knowingly.

Kathryn smiled and gave Evan a quick kiss on the lips. "I just need to take this slow. I do like you, but..."

Evan interrupted. "It's fine. Really...no problem," Evan said with an irritated tone.

Kathryn got out of the cab, and said, "Call me. My mother wanted us to go to brunch with them on Sunday."

"Good night."

Kathryn smiled and walked into her building. She really was tired, and couldn't wait to crawl into bed. Since Danny had Michael, that meant she could sleep late in the morning. But those plans vanished when she walked into her apartment. Danny was sitting on her couch watching the evening news. A startled Kathryn said, "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Well hello to you, too," Danny responded as he stood up.

"I mean it. Why are you here? You're supposed to be at your apartment with Michael tonight."

"I was. But he started to run a fever again. I thought he had another one of those ear infections. I didn't have his medicine at my place. I knew you would have some. So, I came here. And then I didn't want to bring him back out into the cold so I thought I would let him sleep here. I actually thought you would want him here when he isn't feeling well," Danny replied defensively.

"Of course, I do. You just should have called. I know you have a key, but that doesn't mean you can come in here any time you want. I have a right to some privacy, you know."

Danny laughed, "So what...after the other night...you're all about setting boundaries now. Get a grip, Kathryn. I don't care what or even who you were doing tonight. How is Evan the Accountant, anway?"

"Shut up, Danny," Kathryn angrily. "And you have absolutely no right to judge me. Especially since...."

"What? Especially since what?"

"Nothing...you know what? It doesn't matter. I doesn't matter what you do or what I do. You can screw as many 22 year olds as you want. I don't care. The only thing we have together is Michael. Nothing else matters," Kathryn exclaimed.

"Well, I agree, Michael is all that matters, but what the hell are you talking about?"

"I just told you it doesn't matter. I don't care what you do on your own time...just as long as you keep your personal life away from our son."

Danny was now pacing angrily around the apartment fighting himself to keep his voice down. "My personal life? 22 year olds? I haven't had a 'personal life' since...since I went to rehab. I don't know what you are talking about."

"Oh please...don't start lying to me again, Danny. Your antics with Stacy the Nympho Cheerleading Paralegal are all over the DA's office."

"Stacy?" Danny frowned as if trying to place her.

"Oh God...don't tell me you don't know her name. You're screwing her, but you can't quite place her? That's rich, Danny."

"I'm not screwing anybody. I haven't been with anyone, except for you, the other night."

"I don't believe you. You couldn't go without sex for that long. And, according to Stacy, you haven't been going without."

"Look, I went out for coffee twice with Stacy 'the paralegal'. She asked me. I was just being nice. She wanted to go out, but I told her I wasn't interested. I don't know how two coffee dates turned into sleeping with her, but it sounds like you have a problem with gossip at your office. That is not my problem."

Kathryn couldn't believe it, but Danny looked dead serious. "So you're telling me that you've been celibate for well over a year?"

Danny thought about it for a second and then smiled slightly, "Yeah, I guess I have...I mean until the other night with you."

"Why?" Kathryn whispered still disbelieving.

"There are a couple of reasons...the first is that I had to stop using sex like I used alcohol. Addiction is addiction. I had to stop trading one for the other. And the second reason...the second reason...is...you."

"Me?" Kathryn replied as she sat down because she went weak in the knees.

"I thought that one day I'd get another chance with you, and I didn't want to screw it up. Of course, I didn't count on having to compete with Evan the Accountant," Danny said sarcastically.

Kathryn rolled her eyes as she silently thought there was no competition.

Then Danny added, "So you were jealous? You couldn't stand the thought of me with Stacy the Nympho Cheerleading Paralegal as you so eloquently put it."

Kathryn stood back up and walked toward Danny, "I wasn't jealous...I was just..."

"You weren't jealous? Please," Danny smirked.

"I wasn't as jealous of her as you are of Evan," Kathryn said as she smiled and stood directly in front of him.

"You're probably right about that. I hate the thought of you with anyone else but me," Danny admitted as he stared at her possessively.

"I'm sorry," Kathryn whispered. "I'm sorry that I jumped to conclusions." Kathryn then embraced Danny. They held each other for a few minutes, and then Danny pulled away slightly to look at her.

"What does this mean, Kathryn?" he asked as he looked into her blue eyes.

"I don't know," she answered as she touched his cheek and then kissed him. And as it always did, the kiss set off a chemical reaction that lead to Danny pressing her up against the front door while quickly removing her dress. Her bra quickly followed as did Danny's shirt. Kathryn was getting lost in every kiss and every touch. They both knew they would be better off talking, but it was like they had no control. Kathryn could barely control her breathing as she moaned against Danny's shoulder. As he started to take off his jeans, they were both startled by a knock at the door.

"Who the hell is that?" Danny whispered in her ear.

Kathryn closed her eyes as she tried to catch her breath against Danny's chest. "Mrs. Kopecki from next door. She comes over at night sometimes because she can't fix her heater. She is probably cold and wants me to fix it for her."

Danny smiled, "By all means, let's fix Mrs. Kopecki's heater. She could probably heat up pretty fast in here."

Kathryn laughed lightly and bent down to grab Danny's shirt to put around her. "She likes you. Why don't you answer the door, and I'll see bring you a t-shirt. Then you can fix her heater. And then you can come back here and finish what you started with me," Kathryn said seductively as she walked quickly to her bedroom.

Kathryn grabbed Danny's old FBI t-shirt from her dresser, and brought it out to him. Danny had opened the door, but it wasn't Mrs. Kopecki. Kathryn stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Evan at the front door. Danny was standing in front of him without his shirt. Kathryn look down at herself in Danny's button-down. "Oh my god...Evan..."

Evan looked at her with venom, "I thought you were tired."

Danny looked at Kathryn and then back to Evan. Then he said, "I'm going to check on Michael." He took the t-shirt from Kathryn and headed back to Michael's room.

Kathryn started, "Evan, I'm sorry. This...I know this looks bad."

"Your wallet must have dropped out of your purse. I found it in the cab, and thought you might need it," he said icily and put the wallet down on the side table.

"Thanks," Kathryn wasn't sure what else to say.

Evan didn't say anything else. He just walked out. Kathryn sank down into the sofa after he shut the door. After a few minutes, Danny re-entered the room and sat next to her.

"What kind of person have I become?" Kathryn said quietly.

"Kathryn..."

"Before I met you...everything was so simple. I wasn't the type of person who would string someone along while sleeping with her ex-boyfriend. That wouldn't have even entered my thoughts."

"So are you blaming me for this?" asked Danny. "You've known how I felt since...since that day you came to see me in rehab. You knew that if I saw a chance with you that I would take it. You kissed me in the kitchen last week. You kissed me tonight. You can't do that and expect me not to want you. And you also can't date Evan and screw me. You have to make a choice. You can either trust me, and trust what we could have together or you can go to Evan, beg his forgiveness, and tell him that I won't touch you again...if that's what you want. But I need to know. It's not healthy for me to live like this...to want something I can't have. I won't let my life spiral out of control again."

Kathryn rubbed her eyes, and ran her hands through her hair. "You are right. I do have to make a choice. But it's not about Evan. It never has been about him. He was just a safe diversion. And I can't make you wait anymore."

Danny stood up and started to head for the door. "Listen, why don't you take a few days. I'll...um...I'll pick up Michael from your mother's tomorrow afternoon. You can stay here or maybe go away for the weekend. When you come back, we can talk about the future. I'll accept whatever you want. I just want you to be happy Kathryn...with me or without me."

 

Kathryn planned on going to her parent's vacation home in upstate New York. She packed her car, and was ready to head out of town. But, she knew she had some unfinished business to take care of before she left. Her indecision had caused Evan Wyatt pain, and she needed to apologize. So she found herself at her father's offices. She meekly knocked on Evan's door.

 

"Come in."

 

Kathryn took a deep breath and opened the door. "Hi," she said quietly.

 

Evan looked at her like she was from another planet. She was the last person he expected or wanted to see. "What the hell do you want?"

 

"I need to explain," Kathryn started, but truly she didn't know how to explain what happened.

 

"What's there to explain? You wanted the best of both worlds. You wanted to please your parents by going out with me, and you clearly wanted to please yourself by screwing your ex-boyfriend."

 

The words stung Kathryn. "That's not true. I wasn't trying to please my parents. I wanted to make things work with you. I was just confused. And I should have been honest with you. I should have told you about my feelings for Danny."

 

"Your feelings for Danny?" Evan laughed. "This was all a game to you. You don't have feelings. You wanted to make him jealous. You probably get off on it...maybe he does, too. Sounds like one sick relationship. I feel sorry for your son."

 

As the hateful words poured from Evan, Kathryn felt nauseous hearing her relationship characterized like that. "Leave my son out of this. I am sorry for leading you on, but you don't know anything about me or Danny."

 

"I know that he got you pregnant and didn't marry you. I know that he comes in and out of your apartment like he owns it...like he owns you. So once again, a stupid woman chooses to be with a guy who treats her like dirt, and ditches the guy who would actually treat her well. You're such a cliché, Kathryn."

 

"He doesn't treat me.... This was a mistake. Coming here was a mistake," Kathryn said as she headed for the door.

Before she could leave, Evan added, "You're a tease, Kathryn. A tease that gets off on being a doormat. You'll never be happy with anyone who isn't making you miserable."

 

She hurried to the elevator as tears poured out of her eyes. While Kathryn knew the things Evan said were untrue, she couldn't help but question her relationship with Danny even more. She wondered if that's what people saw when they looked at her. Did they see a doormat?

 

Kathryn spent three days at her parent's vacation home. She took the time to evaluate everything in her life, but especially Danny. By the second day, she missed Michael so much that she desperately wanted to go home. But she knew she was doing this for Michael. On the third day, she woke up and took a long walk. She watched the sunrise over the lake, and she finally came to a decision -- the best decision for her and Michael. After getting her things together, she started the drive back to the city. On the way back, she checked her cell phone messages. Danny told her he would call the vacation home directly if there were an emergency so she had left her cell phone off.

 

The only message was from Danny. He said, "Hey. Don't worry. Michael's fine. I just wanted to let you know that I dropped Michael off at your parent's this morning. A six-year-old boy went missing last night from his bed. We will be working 24/7 until we find him. I just wanted to let you know that we will talk after. I hope you are OK. Michael misses you like crazy. Drive safe."

 

Kathryn sighed. She was hoping to see Danny as soon as she returned. She didn't want to give herself any more time to rethink her decision. She silently prayed that Danny and his team would find the little boy alive soon. Her heart ached more and more in cases like these now that she had Michael. She didn't know how Danny and his co-workers handled it.

 

She went straight to her mother's to pick up Michael. When she walked in the door, Michael looked up from his play area on the floor and smiled. Kathryn picked him up and held him close as they giggled together. "Hey sweetness. I missed you. Did you and your daddy have fun?"

 

Michael said, "Da-Da...Da-Da." It was his favorite thing to say. Kathryn secretly thought Danny rigorously trained Michael to say it first.

 

"Do you miss your daddy? We'll see him soon, sweetheart."

 

"Welcome back," Kathryn's mother said.

 

"Hey, Mom. Thanks for taking him on short notice. Danny called and left a message."

 

"My pleasure. It's awful about that little boy that went missing. The news says there are no leads. It's like he vanished."

 

"Terrifying," Kathryn replied as she held Michael close. "Hopefully, they will find him soon."

 

"Did you have a nice time?"

 

"I don't know if I would say it was nice. I learned that I can't stay away from this guy for more than 24 hours ever again," Kathryn replied as she kissed Michael. "But I was able to clear my head and do some thinking."

 

"Good. Did any of that thinking have to do with Evan?"

 

Kathryn looked at her mother skeptically, "Actually, not really. I think I saw his true colors the other day."

 

"He told me what happened," her mother said in a disappointed tone.

 

"What? He told you? That's insane and a little sick. What exactly did he say?"

 

"That he caught you and Danny in a compromising position. I was so embarrassed, Kathryn. I assured him that things were over between you and Danny."

 

"Well that was your first mistake. It wasn't your place to assure him of anything."

 

"So what is going on between the two of you?" asked her mother.

 

"It's not your concern right now..."

 

"I'm concerned about Michael."

 

"Don't be. No matter what happens between Danny and I, Michael is always our first priority. That has always been the case. You can't question our commitment to our son," Kathryn said as she looked in Michael's eyes.

 

"I just want to see you happy, Kathryn."

 

"That seems to be the general consensus. I'm working on it, mother. I'll be OK," Kathryn said quietly. "Are you ready to go home, pumpkin?"

 

Kathryn took Michael home and anxiously awaited Danny's phone call. She watched the news closely to see if they announced any breaks in the case. Late into the evening, there was still no news so Kathryn finally went to bed. The next morning as she fed Michael breakfast, Kathryn turned on the news. The reporter said, "We are just receiving word that the body of a little boy has been located by FBI agents. We are getting unconfirmed reports that they found the body in a dumpster behind the Nyland Warehouse in Queens. We are waiting to hear more details."

 

Kathryn's heart sank as she looked at Michael. A tear ran down her cheek and Michael reached out to wipe it away. She thought about calling Danny, but knew that he may not be able to talk. So she waited. He finally called her a couple of hours later.

 

"Hello?" answered Kathryn.

 

"Hey...I...uh...I just wanted to make sure you got back OK," Danny said quietly.

 

"Yeah...I got back last night. I got your message, so I didn't want to bother you."

 

"Things have been kind of crazy here."

 

"I heard on the news. I'm sorry, Danny."

 

"Yeah...well... Listen...um...is it OK if I stop by tonight. I'd like to see Michael."

 

"Of course, stop by whenever."

 

"Thanks. I'll see you soon."

 

"Bye."

Danny arrived a few hours later. Kathryn opened the door. "Hey."

 

"Hi," Danny said as he walked in.

 

"Michael just finished dinner."

 

Danny went over to the highchair where Michael was sitting and picked him up. At the sight of Danny, Michael said, "Da-Da, Da-Da."

 

"Hey buddy," Danny said as he sat down on the couch. Kathryn just watched, as Danny seemed to block everything out except for his son. He folded Michael into his arms and kissed him on his head.

 

Kathryn sat on the other end of the couch. "Danny..."

 

"Have you been watching the news?" asked Danny.

 

"No, I turned it off after I heard they found his body. I didn't want hear any details."

 

"That's probably smart. No one needs to hear something like that," he said as Michael took hold of his unshaven face. Danny smiled at his son, and Michael laughed.

 

"If you want to talk about it though..."

 

Danny looked at her for the first time since he arrived. "You know me. I never like to talk about it. It's easier not to. It's easier to just block it out. That's the way I would usually handle it. I'd just let it go. It wouldn't affect me. But now..." Danny trailed off as he looked back at Michael. "How can it not affect me?"

 

"What happened?"

 

"It was his father. The little boy's name was Ryan. And I guess he was acting up or something. He wanted to go to the zoo, and he kept bugging his dad about it. His father told Jack that he just snapped. He just got so angry that he hit his little boy. And his father hit him so hard that he staggered backward and fell down the stairs. Instead of calling an ambulance, his father put him in a dumpster. He could of still been alive, but his father just wanted to get rid of him. So we found him...I found him…in the trash. At first, it looked like he was just sleeping," Danny said as he looked off into space. He put Michael on the floor so he could play in front of him.

 

"That's awful. I can't imagine."

 

"See, I can imagine. My father used to get that angry. What if it's in me, too? I mean…my father drank...I drank. What if I'm capable of the same things he was capable of ...the same things Ryan's father was capable of. What if that's in me, too?" Danny was looking at Michael again as tears filled his eyes.

 

"It's not in you, Danny. You're not capable of that."

 

"How do you know?" Danny asked desperately.

 

"I know you. I know your heart. You could never hurt him," Kathryn said as she looked at Michael playing with his blocks. "You are not your father, Danny. You're not."

 

"God, I pray you are right. Promise me...promise me if I ever scare you...if I ever start drinking again that you'll take him far away from me."

 

"That won't happen..."

 

"Just promise me," Danny demanded.

 

"I promise."

 

Danny's phone rang as he sat watching Michael. "Excuse me," he said as he got up to answer his phone. He had a short conversation, and then sat back on the couch.

 

"That was Viv. I thought I was going to go back to do more interviews, but she said that they've pretty much wrapped it up. She also said the Medical Examiner confirmed Ryan was alive after his fall. He could have been saved."

 

Kathryn just shook her head.

 

"Sorry...you don't want hear all this. It's getting late. I should probably get home," Danny said.

 

"No...don't go. I want you to stay. You need to be with your son."

 

"Kathryn, I don't want to make things confusing for you especially after you finally got some distance. And then here I am again..."

 

"I'm not confused anymore. I want you to stay. You belong here with us," Kathryn pleaded.

 

"If you're saying this because you feel sorry for me..."

 

"This probably isn't the best time to talk about all this, but I need to say it," Kathryn said as she picked up Michael and put him in her lap. "I did a lot of thinking while I was away. To be honest, when I was driving up there, I thought we had to end this. I couldn't do it anymore. But then I started thinking about when we first got together. Next to having Michael, that was the happiest time of my life. I started to think about how much I've changed. As confusing as the past few months have been, I think I know now that all the changes have been for the better. I never knew love before I met you. Do you...do you remember the first time we made love?"

Danny nodded.

 

"I knew that night. I knew that night that you were the last person I wanted to be with. That's why I was so terrified that I would never hear from you again. I already knew that I loved you from the moment you looked into my eyes, Danny."

 

"What about everything I put you through after? The lies...the drinking..." asked Danny.

 

"When I was up at the lake, I watched the sunrise. And it kind of reminded me of us. We just need a new beginning...a new day. You've apologized for all of that. And I have forgiven you. We just need to start a new day together...the three of us," she said as she gave Michael a hug.

 

"So you aren't afraid anymore...you aren't afraid I'll start drinking again?"

 

"I won't lie to you. Of course, I'm afraid. But I love you and I believe in you. I believe in us. And we will deal with everything as it comes."

 

Danny moved closer to Kathryn and Michael on the couch. She handed Michael over to Danny, and then they put their arms around each other. Danny looked in her eyes and said, "Thank you. Thank you for giving me a family. I love you so much. And I will work everyday to be a good father and husband. That's my promise to you and Michael."

 

Danny and Kathryn got married a week later at the courthouse. They were both so happy to be together with Michael. Kathryn watched Danny with tears in her eyes as he said his vows to her. He was the last person she expected to fall in love with, but she was so happy she did. At first, he brought passion and happiness to her life. Then he gave her Michael, and they built a friendship as parents that she treasured. She was fairly certain that, as a family, they would have their ups and downs, but they would face each new day together. And together, they could get through anything.

Note: This is the final chapter. Hope I didn't get too corny at the end. I didn't know quite how to end their odyssey together. Thanks for all the helpful reviews.