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WARNING: This story contains some very heavy emotional content. There isn't any particularly graphic violence, but some people might find some scenes upsetting.

Spoilers: "The Lord is My Shepherd"

* * * *

Margo Vincent strolled through the bright California sunshine, one
arm linked through her brother's. Errant breezes tossed the skirt of
her ice blue summer dress and the tails of the ice-blue-and-black
patterned silk scarf at her throat. Her pale dress and bare arms
were in startling contrast to John's ebony cassock and people cast
curious glances at the stunning woman and the tall priest as they
passed.

"Oh, Margie, I've missed you so," John told her.

"I've missed you, too. I'm so glad you could spend your vacation
with me. How long can you stay?"

"For an entire week… the first vacation I've had since I assumed my
new post. Now – how shall we spend it?"

"I wish you could stay longer," Margo sighed wistfully.

"You are being greedy, Little Sister," John chided gently.

Margo wrapped her hands tighter around her brother's arm and laid her
head against his shoulder. "I know… but we have so much time to make
up for."

"We will, Margie, I promise you… we will make up for all the lost
years."

"I'm gonna hold you to that… Big Brother."

They turned a corner onto a pleasant street lined with small shops
and sidewalk cafes. Trees lined the sidewalk, alternating with neat
timbered flower boxes. A police officer in a warm-weather uniform
and white gloves directed traffic and a bespectacled schoolteacher
led a group of young children down the sidewalk, stopping now and
then to point out the trees that shaded the sidewalk.

John smiled at the children's antics. "Margo," he teased gently,
"What grade would you say those children are? Second perhaps?"

Margo batted him in the arm, blushing as she remembered her 'fib'.
She sobered then, her green eyes growing wary behind the dark lenses
of her sunglasses. "John, are you… are you all right with what I do
for a living?"

John stopped and took both her hands in his own. "Margo, we have
both seen terrible things. I have chosen my way to combat the evil
that men do, and you have chosen yours. I have no right to question
your choices, because I was not there to help you make them. I know
that you defend the helpless and champion justice, and I think that
the world needs people like you and your friends who have the courage
to stand up and do what must be done. I might wish that it were
otherwise, but I have seen too many things to look at the world
through rose colored glasses." He drew her arm through his and
started walking again.

"What about you?" Margo asked curiously, "You never did tell me
exactly what made you decide to become a priest."

John's eyes grew troubled. "It… is a long story. I do not even know
where to begin."

Margo sensed that is was her turn to reassure. "John, you're my
brother. I love you, and nothing you could tell me about your past
will change that, OK?"

John opened his mouth as though to answer her when the peace of the
morning was shattered by the whoop of a siren and shouts of alarm.
Two men wearing dark sky masks and carrying semi-automatic rifles
spilled out of a small bank across the street. One fired into the
air for effect, while the other sprayed the windows of the bank,
sending glass shards flying all over the street. Pedestrians
screamed and ran for cover.

Instinctively, Margo dragged her brother down behind the cover of a
parked car. She drew the gun that the guys had given her for her
birthday out of her purse and dropped the bag on the pavement. Margo
had a brief moment of wishing that they were there with her, but she
pushed it down firmly, becoming the seasoned operator once more.

John laid a hand on her arm as she checked the clip. "Margo, what
are you doing?"

She kept her eyes on her weapon as she answered in calm, measured
tones, "This is what I do, John… it's who I am. I can't just stand by
and let innocent people be hurt. Stay here, all right?"

"Margo…"

"John. Stay here. Don't make me have to worry about you, too."

Something in her eyes stilled his protests. He nodded slightly and
crossed himself.

Margo edged around the back end of the car, weapon at the ready. She
quickly scanned the scene, noting that the perps seemed to be waiting
for something… a getaway car, she figured. The schoolteacher had her
students huddled against a storefront, much too close to the action
for Margo's taste. The traffic cop was also edging closer, trying
for a shot. She only hoped he'd called for backup.

A nondescript van sped around the corner and the police officer
stepped out into the road, shouting for the driver to stop. The
vehicle continued to bear down in him. He hesitated to fire, as the
school children were between him and his target. One of the tangos
at the bank took the opportunity to shoot him. As he fell, the
officer got off a shot at the van. It was enough to spin the vehicle
out of control.

Swearing under her breath, Margo edged over behind another car,
trying for a better angle.

Realizing that their transpo was gone, the tangos moved out into the
street, aiming their weapons at the terrified driver of a dark sedan.

Margo leaned out around the parked car she was using for cover.
Holding her breath, she sighted carefully and squeezed the trigger.
The apparent leader of the robbery fell. The others looked around
wildly, trying to pinpoint where the shot had come from. Margo
ducked back as bullets sprayed the space she'd just occupied. She
smiled grimly; at least the tangos weren't threatening the driver of
the car any more. Her relief was short-lived however, as a shout
from the street made her cautiously raise her head to see one of the
perps holding a struggling child in his arms. Damn, damn, damn.
Where was Benny Ray when she needed him?

"Margo!" John shouted, his accent becoming thicker as his stress
levels mounted.

"Stay down!" she hissed. She leaned out for another shot, but the
tangos had figured her location.

John watched the scene unfold, horrified. His vision seemed to slow
down, recording each detail with terrible, indelible clarity. A
bullet caught Margo in the chest, throwing her up and back to flop to
the street like a puppet whose strings had been cut. She seemed to
fall in slow motion, her body hitting the pavement first, then her
out flung arms. Her weapon fell close beside her, along with her
sunglasses. The cracked lenses seemed to reflect his horror-stricken
face in each dark shard as his sister's pain-filled scream echoed
over and over in his ears. Bright red blood spread out over the pale
silk of her dress… more blood trickled from the corner of her mouth.

A haze as red as Margo's blood seemed to settle over his vision.
John crawled forward to his sister's side… there was so much
blood… soaking the front of her dress and pooling on the road beneath
her. With a wordless scream of anguish, John's hand closed over
Margo's gun. As his fingers closed around the metal, warm from her
grasp, the red haze before his eyes thinned – just enough for him to
focus on her attacker. As if in a dream, he raised the weapon and
sighted on the man who'd shot his sister. The man's mouth moved as
though he were shouting something, but John heard nothing save the
roaring of blood in his ears. He pulled the trigger again and again,
firing long after he'd emptied the clip.

He was still standing there, pulling the trigger of the spent weapon
when additional police officers pulled up. They trained their guns
on him at first, unsure of exactly what was happening. Bystanders
hurried to explain, telling how the priest and the wounded young
woman had stopped the criminals. They approached hesitantly, one
officer kneeling quickly to check on Margo and the other attempting
to speak to John.

"Sir? Sir, I need you to drop the weapon. Sir?" Very cautiously,
the officer extended his hand.

Finally, John turned haunted eyes on the man. Margo's handgun fell
from nerveless fingers. "My God," he whispered brokenly, "What have
I done?"

* * * *

THE SILVER STAR
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA

The basement phone rang and Matt snatched it up immediately.
"Shepherd," he answered crisply.

"Matt, it's Trout."

The older man's voice seemed heavy with some emotion Matt couldn't
quite identify and all his instincts went on full alert. "What's
up?" he asked cautiously.

Nick and Benny Ray caught the change in his tone and drifted over.

"I just got a call from a friend over at State. Margo Vincent and
her brother have been involved in a shooting."

"What?! That can't be right... they're both right here in town... they
just went out for a walk."

"It seems that during their stroll, they got in the way of some armed
robbery suspects trying to make an escape. My friend at the State
Department got the call because the Monsignor's travel documents were
issued by the Vatican."

"Was John hit?" Matt demanded.

"No."

"Margo?" Matt whispered.

"I'm afraid she was shot – chest wound... some sort of assault
rifle... the damn crooks are better armed then the cops," he stated
with bitter humor. "I arranged for her to be airlifted to Coronado.
They've got the best people and equipment to deal with something like
this," Trout assured him.

"How bad?" Matt asked.

Trout's heavy sigh carried clearly through the phone line. "It's as
bad as it gets, Matt. I'm sorry. Look, I've got Deke standing by
with a chopper to take you down there. If there's anything I can
do..."

"I'll ask," Matt told him. He slowly hung up the phone, wondering
how something like this could have happened so fast. It was only a
couple of hours ago that Margo turned up to take her brother on a
walking tour of Hermosa Beach. She'd looked stunning, as usual, but
there was a special warmth in her eyes and voice that only surfaced
when she was with her brother. It was as if spending time with him
restored some lost part of her soul... a part that had withered and
died from witnessing too much death and deception. Margo Vincent was
always beautiful, but at moments like that...

"Boss?" Benny Ray asked quietly.

Matt looked up. From the expressions on the other mens' faces, he
gathered that it wasn't the first time the sniper had called his
name. "There's been an... incident."

* * * *

SICKBAY
CORONADO NAVAL AIR STATION

There was a blessedly familiar face waiting for them at the helipad.
"She's still in surgery," Rico yelled over the noise of the rotors as
Matt jumped down from the bird.

"John?" Matt shouted back.

Rico waited through the momentary cacophony that accompanied Deke's
taking the chopper back up before he answered. Matt's nerves were
strung battle-tight and the wait seemed interminable.

"He's in some kind of shock. The detective in charge of the case
flew down with them to get a statement, but the doctors want to get
him stabilized first."

"Ya can't really blame da guy," Nick observed philosophically, "I
mean, he's a priest... he ain't usta seein' people get shot."

"'Specially not his own sister," Benny Ray agreed.

"Actually, from what the witnesses said, John killed the guy who shot
Margo," Rico explained.

A low whistle escaped Benny Ray's lips. "I don't know the padre real
well, but I don't think he's gonna handle this too well."

"Can I talk to him?" Matt asked.

"Sure... I think it might do him good to hear a familiar voice," Rico
replied.

* * * *

They heard the shouting of angry voices the minute they stepped off
the elevator.

"I don't give a damn who you think you are in LA, Mister," a woman's
voice was saying, "but right now you are in my hospital. In fact,
you are about two seconds away from having your six thrown out of my
hospital. Do I make myself clear?"

Rico rolled his eyes heavenward. "Emma," he muttered, adding
something in Spanish.

Under other circumstances, Matt would have been amused, but there was
no room for laughter in his heart just now... no room for anything
other than his need to know that Margo was still alive.

The voices grew louder as they rounded the corner, breaking off
abruptly as the woman spotted Rico. She had short red hair and
evidently, the temperament that went with it. "Rico, who are your
friends?" she asked curiously.

"Colonel Emma Patterson, this is Matt Shepherd, Benny Ray Riddle and
Nick Delvecchio. They're friends of the family; the monsignor is
staying with Matt."

The colonel shook hands with each of them, her pleasant tones a far
cry from the heated discussion that had been going on scant moments
before. Her sharp eyes lighted on each face, reading their pain and
guessing that the gunshot victim was much more then just a friend or
co-worker to these men. "Your friend will be in surgery for a while
longer, Mister Shepherd," she said sympathetically.

Matt nodded slightly. "Can I see her brother?"

"I think it would be very helpful for him to hear a familiar voice,"
the doctor replied, ignoring the look that the detective fired in her
direction. Smiling gently, she ushered Matt into a small examining
room.

Matt was shocked at the other man's appearance – John seemed to have
aged years since he'd seen him that morning. His cassock was
wrinkled and stained with blood. A nurse was trying to clean more
blood from his hands. John's face was pale, but what scared Matt the
most was his eyes. Those eyes that had been sparkling with love for
his little sister had darkened to pools of despair.

Deeply disturbed, Matt mustered a smile and kept his voice carefully
neutral. "John? How are you?"

It seemed to take a long time for John to acknowledge Matt's words
and turn to face him. "Matthew?" he whispered hoarsely.

The doctor nodded encouragement, gesturing for Matt to keep talking.

"Yes, sir, it's Matt Shepherd. How are you feeling?" he repeated.

"I... do not know," John answered slowly.

"Hey, that's all right," Matt said soothingly, "You've had a pretty
bad scare... it's natural to be a bit shaken up."

"Where is Margie?" John asked plaintively.

Matt sat down and laid his hand on the other man's arm. "John, Margo
was hurt... she's in surgery right now. Do you remember what
happened? Can you tell me?"

John just shook his head vaguely. His eyes lost focus and he began
speaking softly in what Matt presumed was Romanian. Matt raised his
eyes to the doctor, who shook her head.

"John, I'm going to go check on Margo. You just take it easy, all
right?"

* * * *

"How is he, sir?" Benny Ray asked when a very shaken Matt returned to
the hallway.

Matt looked inquiringly to Colonel Patterson.

"As far as we can tell, he sustained no physical injuries. As to his
mental state, well, it's a bit early to tell. I certainly understand
how an experience like this can be traumatic to a civilian,
especially a member of the clergy, but his reaction seems excessive
to me."

"Ma'am, I ain't tryin' to tell you your business," Benny Ray began
deferentially, "but maybe a chaplain might make more headway with 'im
than a shrink. No offense," he added quickly.

"None taken," the colonel replied. "In fact, that's an excellent
suggestion. So you gentlemen have no idea of what's behind all
this?"

Nick shook his head. "Not us. Margo might, but..."

"Of course," Colonel Patterson said kindly. "Why don't you make
yourselves comfortable in the family room while I go check on your
friend?"

* * * *

The family room was still and dark. Silvered moonlight traced the
forms huddled in uneasy slumber on the couches and chairs. A lone
man stood sentry at the window, keeping watch over his companions.
He turned at the sound of Colonel Patterson's footsteps.

"Mister Riddle?" she asked softly.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"We've moved Ms. Vincent to her own room. I thought you might like
to look in on her for a moment."

"I'm much obliged, ma'am, but shouldn't you be talkin' to her
brother?"

"We finally got him to sleep... I'd rather not wake him just yet.
She's unconscious and likely to remain that way for some time, but
we're reasonably sure that patients in her condition can hear when
someone speaks to them, so if you'd like to visit her, one at a time,
for just a few moments, you may."

Matt had wakened when she first stepped into the room and now he sat
up wearily.

"Go on, Boss," Benny Ray encouraged him.

Matt nodded his gratitude and followed the doctor out.

"He never told her, did he?" Rico muttered.

"Told who what?" Nick demanded groggily.

Benny Ray ignored the former DEA man. "I don't think so... that's why
this is eatin' him up so bad... he's afraid he'll lose her without her
ever knowin' how he feels."

* * * *

Matt's footsteps seemed inordinately loud in the hushed atmosphere of
the hospital room. The stillness was a palpable thing, broken only
by the muted beep and hum of the machinery that dwarfed Margo's still
form. There was the gentle whoosh of the respirator that pumped air
into her lungs, and the winking lights of the instruments that
monitored her heartbeat. Matt's strength failed him and he slumped
down into the hard plastic chair at her bedside.

She looked so small and fragile. Her skin was pale almost to the
point of translucency and she was so still... Matt had to look to the
monitors to reassure himself that she really was still alive. There
were IVs in her arms and monitors were attached to her finger and
chest. Tubes in her mouth and nose aided the flow of life-giving
oxygen. Matt felt a sudden and overwhelming need to touch her, and
he finally settled for gently stroking her arm, being careful to
avoid touching any of the equipment.

"Oh, Margo... you can't even take a walk without getting into trouble,
can you?" he teased feebly. Matt's voice cracked with the strain of
unshed tears and the joke echoed hollowly in his own ears. "Damn,"
he swore softly. Clearing his throat, he tried again. "Your doctors
say you're gonna be just fine, you know... so you better hurry up and
get outta here... there's sick people who need the room." He paused
again, trying to get his emotions under control. "And there's people
who need you. Your brother is going to need you very much to help
him get through this, Margo. You have to come back to him..."

Matt leaned his forehead against the bedrail as a single scalding
tear escaped to slide down his cheek. "... you have to come back...
to me..."

* * * *

Matt started awake as he sensed movement in the room. The spare
furnishings of the room were engoldened with sunlight. A young nurse
looked up from checking the readings on the monitors and smiled at
him.

He eased himself straight in the hard plastic chair, grimacing as his
spine protested the movement. "How is she?" he asked, his voice
gravelly from sleep.

"The doctor will be in to check her in a moment... he's better
qualified to answer your questions. Perhaps you'd care to freshen
up?" she suggested diffidently.

Matt reached down to trail his fingers through Margo's hair. He was
startled when she seemed to turn towards that slight touch. At the
same moment, several of the monitors changed cadence.

"Sir, I need you to step outside now," the nurse said firmly as she
pushed him out the door.

"What's wrong?" Matt demanded.

"Sir, please," the nurse repeated, beckoning for the doctor.

"What's goin' on, Major?" Benny Ray wanted to know, laying a
supportive hand on his friend's shoulder.

Rico edged his way inside, his look promising them answers.

"She'll be all right... she's a strong lady," Deke rumbled in his deep
voice.

None of them were really sure afterwards how long they waited for the
doctor to emerge from the room, but the smile on his face brought on
a wave of relief that nearly drove Matt to his knees. "She's awake,"
the doctor told them kindly. "I'll allow you in, one at a time, but
please remember that Ms. Vincent needs her rest."

"What was all dat beepin'?" Nick asked curiously.

"When a person wakes up in a strange place and finds themselves
hooked up to all sorts of tubes and so forth, it can be a bit
disorienting. The nurse is just removing some equipment and then you
can go back in."

"Thank you, Doc," Matt said warmly as he shook the man's hand.

"It was my pleasure." He looked around at the group gathered in the
hallway. "I'd say that Ms. Vincent is a very lucky lady."

Rico appeared in the doorway a few moments later. "You can come in
now," he said, holding the door for the nurse as she walked past.

Matt followed him back inside.

"She's strong enough to breathe on her own now, but she shouldn't
talk and she definitely shouldn't move," Rico advised him quietly.
Grinning, he leaned down to speak to Margo. "Hey, beautiful, you've
got a visitor. Just remember what I told you...no waltzes just yet."

Matt moved closer to the bed and looked down at Margo. The medical
staff had cleared away some of the equipment and he could see her
face clearly. She was still pale, but her eyes shone and Matt was
sure that she recognized him. He leaned down to gently cup her cheek
with his palm. "Hey," he said softly.

"You were here... last night," Margo whispered.

"Shh... you're not supposed to talk. But yeah... I was here." He
paused, unsure what to say, or how to say it. Shying away from the
enormity of his feelings yet again, he settled for a joke of sorts.
"No place else I'd rather be."

She smiled for him, then... just a faint upturn of her lips, but it
was enough for Matt.

"You've got your own fan club out in the hall there," he teased, the
humor in his voice genuine now that she was awake. "I'm going to go
and tell your brother that you're awake. He's fine," Matt added
quickly, reading the question in her eyes. It wasn't precisely the
truth, but he didn't think she could handle the details just yet.
"Now, who would you like me to send in next?" he asked lightly.
"Benny Ray? Or maybe Nick?"

Her mouth twitched slightly and Matt thought she was trying to
laugh...or maybe wince.

"OK, Benny Ray it is." The laughter drained out of his face and he
just stared at her for a space of time that he could never later
recall. He had the strangest feeling of having stood at this
crossroad before... and somehow making the wrong decision. Giving in
to the sudden rush of emotion, he bent and kissed her lips. "Thank
you... for coming back to me," he murmured against her mouth.

* * * *

Cocooned in a drowsy haze of pain and medication, Margo drifted in
and out of wakefulness. Faces moved in and out of her range of
vision and familiar voices murmured quiet words. Her mind couldn't
quite grasp what they said most of the time, but the sound was
comforting, as were the occasional gentle touches on her arm or hair.
It occurred to Margo that she must be hurt rather badly for the boys
to be so openly affectionate, especially...

"Matt?" she whispered.

"He's gone to fetch your brother, Sweet Pea," Benny Ray explained
soothingly. His big hands squeezed her cold fingers gently and she
realized that he must have been holding her hand for some time. "The
Major'll be back real soon."

Of course, that's what Matt had said... just before he... had he really
kissed her? Margo wasn't sure any more if it was real or if she'd
dreamed it. That kiss had felt so incredibly wonderful... very
different from the brotherly pecks on the cheek or forehead that the
others had been so liberal with. Surely it must have been a dream...

* * * *

Matt knocked before entering John's room. He was somewhat relieved
to see the priest sitting at a table by the window. As he got closer, he realized that John was staring out the window and picking listlessly at his breakfast. His mood dimmed.

"Sir?" There was no answer. "How are you doing this morning, sir?"
Matt asked with forced cheerfulness. He reached out and touched the
other man's arm lightly.

As if in slow motion, John turned to face him.

Matt took that as a positive sign and continued speaking. "Margo's
awake. It's going to take some time, but the doctors think she'll
make a full recovery."

"Margo... is... all right?"

"She will be. She'd really like to see you," Matt added hopefully.

"No!" John cried vehemently. His arm swept out and dashed the items
on the table to the floor.

Matt was shocked by the other man's reaction. "John," he began
calmly, "this is your little sister we're talking about. She's
hurting, and she really wants to see you."

John buried his face in his hands. After a few moments, Matt saw his
shoulders shaking with sobs. He kept saying something, over and
over, and it took Matt a moment to figure out what it was.

"... don't understand... cannot face her... I cannot... I am so
ashamed..."

Matt drew in a deep breath and spoke as gently as possible. "John,
Margo loves you. There is nothing you could ever do that would
change that."

"You do not understand... I cannot face my little sister... with blood
on my hands."

"John, look at me. I know what happened... I read the police report."

"Then you know... that I killed a man," John intoned in a voice that
echoed of despair.

* * * *

Margo's head turned restlessly on her pillows. She couldn't find her
brother... she'd been searching for so long and she had to find him...

"Whoa there, darlin,'" Benny Ray crooned, pressing her back against
the bed. "Calm down now... what's wrong? Pain?"

"Where is my brother?" Margo gasped tearfully, the terror of a dark
dream still evident in her eyes.

Benny Ray softly stroked her hair back from her face. "You rest
easy, darlin.' The Major went to fetch your brother an' I'm sure
they'll be here real soon."

Margo's green eyes were clouded with pain and fear and the sniper
found himself answering their plea without a second thought.

"I'll go find 'em for you, all right?" She nodded slightly and he
leaned down to kiss her forehead. He turned at the door and smiled
back at her. "Delvecchio! Front an' center!"

"Whassamatta?" the New Yorker slurred, starting up from a brief nap.

"I need you to come on in here and hold hands with this pretty lady
for a while so's I can find out what's keepin' her brother an' the
Major." He looked back at Margo once more and winked. "I'll be
right back... I promise."

* * * *

Benny Ray tapped once on the door before pulling it open and
entering. "Major?"

Matt's head whipped around instantly. "Margo?"

"She's fine sir, but I think she's a bit fuzzy from all the meds
they're pumping into her. She wants to see her brother real bad an'
I think she'll rest alot easier once she sees for herself that he's
all right."

Matt turned back to the tormented priest. "John, it's not good for
Margo to be upset just now. Let's go and see her. She needs to know
that you're all right."

"Nothing is all right... nothing will ever be all right again," John
said brokenly.

"John," Matt tried again, "in our line of work... all of us... even
Margo, have found it necessary to kill sometimes. It isn't easy, and
God knows, it isn't pretty, but sometimes it has to be done. We can
help you work through this. I understand. Margo will underst-"

"You understand nothing! Nothing!"

The hours of fatigue and worry caught up to Benny Ray in a sudden
rush and he did something that his God-fearing parents would have
tanned his hide for. "Now you look here. The only thing I
understand right now is that someone I care for very much is hurting.
The thing that will stop her hurting is for you to get up outta that
chair and stop feeling sorry for yerself and talk to her. You are
gonna go down that hall and talk to your sister if I have to drag you
there myself, ya hear?"

The silence that reigned was so complete that Benny Ray swore later
that he could hear the beating of his own heart.

Ultimately, it was the monsignor's voice that broke the stillness.
"Perhaps you are right, Mister Riddle," he said slowly.

Matt slowly expelled the breath he'd been holding and made a mental
note to discuss tactics with his second. "Why don't you go tell
Margo we're on our way?" he suggested in a carefully neutral tone.

"Will do, sir."

* * * *

Rico opened the door to Margo's room with a flourish and Matt pushed
John's wheelchair inside.

"Look who I found wandering around this place!" Matt said jovially as
he pushed the chair up to her bedside.

"Now will you behave yourself?" Rico asked, squeezing her arm
lightly.

Margo's eyes widened slightly as she registered that her brother was
sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a hospital issue bathrobe.

John saw the accusation coalescing in the look she aimed at Matt and
hastened to intervene. "I am not hurt, Margie. I was very... upset... by what happened, and the doctors thought it best that I stay the night in the hospital. I am fine, Little Sister. Truly."

Even through the pain that clouded her mind, Margo sensed that
something wasn't quite right, but she felt too drained to try and
ferret it out just then. A ghost of a smile flitted briefly across
her features and her fingers stirred feebly toward her brother.

Interpreting her gesture correctly, John wrapped his hands around
hers, just as he had when she was a tiny child, afraid of the dark.

Content now, Margo's eyes drifted closed and she slipped back to
sleep.

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