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John Michael Malone. Jack. John Michaels. Jack. The dream, vision, whatever it was, wouldn't leave him alone. The images in his mind, taunting him day and night.

He was trying, he really was, he'd talked to Marie about having the girls come stay over summer vacation, planning two weeks off just to spend with them and he'd talked to Vivian, about... stuff, things he'd bottled up inside until when he finally *did* speak it all came out in a flood that left him drained, but that dream just wouldn't leave him be, like ghosts haunting, the images kept popping up in his head when he least expected it.

Earlier, when he'd come out of his office, Martin and Danny laughing over something, for just a moment, he'd seen Danny dead, on that damn roof top. Vivian had given him a look, like she knew... maybe she did. He hadn't told her everything about the dream, but enough that she could guess.

The thing was, he knew what frightened him most about it. Imagining that his daughters would some day hate him, terrified him, but he knew, that he could fix that, knew that if he just worked at it, he could make things... if not right, at least, better. It was the thought he would be alone for the rest of his life.

Thinking of some morning, far off in the future, when he'd wake up to a cold and lonely bed. Even if he could imagine he'd get out of that bed, call his daughters; go to dinner with friends, even if he could see his days being full... the thoughts of lonely nights and cold mornings... Jack would never admit it aloud, but he didn't want to face that, he wanted to have someone. Someone to love, to wake up next too, to hold him when the world felt like it was pressing down on his shoulders trying to break him. Someone who could save him from himself.

In the dream, he'd seen Sam, tried to kiss her... some would say that was his subconscious trying to tell him he still had feelings for her and he'd probably agree, but his conscious mind was more than aware of this and he knew those feelings were not those of a lover anymore. He loved her, as a friend, a confidant and she was a beautiful woman, it was true, but he knew, long term, they could never work out, Marie was the only woman he'd ever have been able to picture spending his life with and that... well that didn't turn out well.

It was ironic, Jack thought, the one person who'd really played the least role in his dream, was the one member of his team... the one person, Jack wished could have the biggest part in his future. He'd never say it, never ask, never... because he knew he could never have that. He wouldn't and couldn't, reach for what he wanted at the risk of loosing what he had. But even if he always woke up alone, he didn't have to end up like he had in that dream, he had a second chance and he'd take it for all it was worth.

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