Fic: If (Profiler, Sam/Bailey)

If that had been her…

Oh, God.

The whole scene replays itself in my mind over and over again, from the first moment of panic at the silence behind her door–I can’t remember the last time a drive at breakneck speed felt so unbearably slow–to the icy steel blade of fear evoked by the Lieutenant’s words…

“I’m sorry to hear that…”

I was knifed once, in ‘Nam. Not even that jagged, homemade blade hurt as much as that torturous epoch of seconds that might culminate with the news that Sam was dead. That I’d failed to protect her.

That I’d lost the most important person in my life, the absolute center of my existence. I’ve never felt such relief as that which swept through me with one word: “brunette.”

If it had been her…

I didn’t even need to finish the sentence. George and John both knew–both know–how much she means to me. I almost wonder if they might not know it better than I do. The intimate link between her safety and my happiness sometimes surprises me still. And sometimes, it terrifies me. Because I’ve never felt anything so strong for anyone else. Not even Janet.

I could live without Janet. I did for years.

I can’t live without Sam.

If that had been her…

It would have killed me, plain and simple. It would have eaten me alive from the inside out that I didn’t save her: me, who was supposed to protect her from everything. If she was ripped from me, the gravity of the black hole her loss would leave in my heart would pull everything else I am into it. And I would never forgive myself.

If that had been her, a fist in the face would have been the least of our damned Section Chief’s concerns. And a reprimand for insubordination would be the least of mine.

If that had been her, that bastard O’Hara could have fled around the world and he still would never have escaped me.

I would have been lost, but I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t have taken the bastards down with me.

If that had been her…

But it wasn’t.

Thank God, Sam, that you’re all right.

Thank God.

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