Chapter Thirty-Five: Epilogue

"Walk us through it one more time."

Tom shifted in his seat, a muscle twitching uncomfortably in his back from the lack of lumbar support the metal chair gave after hours of sitting in it. "Why? Nothing's changed since the last time you interrogated me."

The young woman in the seat across from him frowned very slightly. "This isn't an interrogation, Mr Keen. You're -"

"Giving a statement. Yeah, you've said that, but usually a statement is taken and that's the end of it."

"I'm sure you can understand our abundance of caution."

"Is that what DHS is calling it these days?"

"Mr Keen…."

He snorted, leaning forward in his seat and feeling some of the pressure release from his back at the change in position. "Howard Hargrave and Agent Aram Mojtabai recovered the data from an archive codenamed Sikorsky. With that data my wife - Agent Elizabeth Keen - and I acted as the decoys to lure Alexei Yahontov into the open, and our three tech specialists were able to use some slight of hand to trick their security into thinking we had more people on our side than we did. It worked, put them on their guard, and one of our people got a good shot off."

"Former Colonel Nez Rowan?" the DHS officer clarified.

"Yeah. You people probably recovered the slug in Yahontov' corpse."

"But it wasn't what killed him."

They'd been over this again and again and again. Tom knew what they were looking for: any slip up, any possible hint that what each of them were saying happened hadn't actually happened. After everything they had been picked up at the location and the feds had taken the Archive. With the prior acknowledgement of the Cabal by a National Security Advisor and the United States government, it hadn't taken them long to authenticate enough of the Archive for it to become abundantly clear that this team of people they'd been after weren't as guilty as they had thought. They had each been issued an ankle monitor - a precaution - and had had their passports revoked - useless - before dragging them in on a daily basis to interrogate them on every detail of what had happened.

"The helicopter went down before it got too far off the ground."

"Do you know why?"

"I can make an educated guess."

"Does that educated guess have a name?"

Interesting. That was new, and it set off every alarm that his training had ever instilled in him. "You'll have to take that up with the feds."

"I'm DHS."

"Yeah, I know, but my guess is it's still above your pay grade."

The woman leveled a calm, even look at him as the scene played out in Tom's mind. It was the same scene that he knew had woken Liz night after night since it had happened: the helicopter had careened around into the building like someone had forced it down. He knew who. This DHS officer might have even known who. He just wasn't going to be the one to betray Reddington, not after this.

"Remains were recovered. Jonas Bauer -"

"Alexei Yahontov," Tom corrected.

"- and several of his associates. Are you saying one of them took the helicopter down?"

"I'm not saying that."

"Then what are you saying, Mr Keen?"

"I'm saying check with the feds. If Harold Cooper won't give you the name, neither will I."

"Harold Cooper did give us a name."

Tom's lips twitched up into a smirk. "Bullshit."

"Excuse me."

"Bullshit," he repeated, the smile broadening. "I know a liar when I see one."

"So do I."

"What makes you think I'm a liar?"

"Well, for starters, your death certificate."

"Misunderstanding."

"I'd love to know the details."

"SCI7."

"I don't know what that is."

"Exactly. You get clearance for that, you can have everything you're fishing for. Until then, we done? I have a little girl that's been waiting for her mom or me to pick her up and tell her life's going back to something like normal."

His would-be interrogator that was so far out of her league she didn't know which way was up smiled at him, the expression tight and guarded. She stood, said something he didn't listen to, and left him alone in the room.

He knew what she wanted him to say. She wanted him to give her Reddington's name. Maybe Katarina's. He was pretty sure she had been the one to leak the Archive even after the feds had gotten their hands on it. The world knew now. There was no covering it up.

He wasn't going to give her up either.

The door opened again some time later and a new face appeared. He didn't know this one. "Mr Hargrave," he greeted. Okay. He had higher clearance that the woman that had been in there with him. "I apologize for the wait. The formalities have been handled and we can remove the ankle tracker. We appreciate your help and cooperation."

"Scottie threaten to sic the Halcyon lawyers on you or did she just finally find a body you buried?"

The other man chuckled and held the key to the ankle tracker. Tom swallowed the follow up retort. No need to push his luck.


The call came through late enough in the afternoon that they had already started prepping dinner while Agnes coloured and chattered away at the table. If it had been pressure from Halcyon lawyers or an understanding that he wasn't going to give the name they so desperately wanted, they had finally cut Tom Keen loose once and for all. He was the last one of them held up in the so-called interviews that had felt more like they were one step away from the deepest, darkest hole that the Department of Homeland Security could have found to toss them into, somehow managing to keep their attention a few hours longer than his wife. It was over, though. Done. And unlike Liz who had gotten pulled immediately into a meeting with Cooper at the Post Office, Tom was on his way over to pick up their daughter.

Which meant this, too, was over.

"Who was that?" Samar asked from her place at the stove, stirring at the rice and sauteed mushrooms that would end up in their risotto.

Aram pursed his lips together, a lie almost tumbling from his lips in a desperate attempt to hold onto their time just a little longer. She was going to leave after this. Mr Reddington might be gone, but Dembe could just as easily set her up with a new identity. The information released from the Archive had rocked the world in the week and a half since, and even though Mossad had more pressing matters to attend to in this post-Sikorsky era of intelligence, there was no guarantee that Samar was out of the woods yet. Mr Cooper was working on it, but until he had it, she had to lay low. He'd been one of the first released from custody and she'd asked him to help look after Agnes while the little girl's parents fought for their freedom, but no matter how beautiful that little pocket of time had proven, it was over now. Tom would come get Agnes and Samar would disappear. Even if Mr Cooper could secure her prolonged reprieve by leveraging their part in the Archive's recovery, Samar might be too deep into her new cover to reach by then.

"Aram?"

He turned, finding her looking at him and his heart skipped a beat. He sucked in a breath he hoped would steady him and plastered on a smile for Agnes who was watching him as well now. "That was your daddy, Agnes."

She lit up like a menorah eight nights in. "Daddy!"

"Yeah, he's on his way."

"Do I get to go home?" she demanded, the colouring project completely forgotten in light of the news.

"We know how much you've hated being here," Samar teased, leaning down to the couch and scooping the little girl into her arms, tickling her as she did. Agnes giggled and Aram felt a strange swirl of peace and fear waging war for his emotions.

"But you and Uncle 'Ram will come see me, right?" Agnes demanded and Samar pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"Or course." The lie was so easy. So believable. He almost fell for it. "He won't be here until after dinner, so you still need to wash up."

Agnes darted off and Aram's dark gaze followed her until she disappeared around the corner. He didn't realize that he'd been staring at the empty space long after she'd vacated it until Samar reached forward, her touch light against her arm. "You want to tell me what's bothering you?"

He opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again, no words actually tumbling out.

Samar's lips quirked up at the corners and he saw an old, familiar look as she turned back to the risotto. "Did I tell you that Tom's parents offered resources so that Dr Orchard and I can continue my treatments?"

"In New York?" Aram asked, feeling a terrible twinge of hope. New York wasn't far.

"No, here in DC."

He straightened, shoulders pulled back and head tilted to the side in question. "You're staying?"

"I'd planned on it," she answered casually, like they weren't discussing his dream-come-to-life being pulled out from under him all over again. "I was making a lot of headway with Dr Orchard, and she was right: the time I've spent with you and the others has helped."

Aram couldn't argue that. Even in the week and a half that they'd been watching Agnes he'd seen improvements. Bits and pieces of the woman he'd known continued to surface. Unlike Tom regaining his memories, Samar's seemed to be more of an unconscious reclaiming of her former self. An old habit here, a memory of something funny that had happened here.

"I thought you'd want me to stay."

Her voice pulled him out of his thoughts and Aram jerked around to look at her. "Don't you have to… you know, go? Or start over under a new identity?"

She turned, leaning against the counter next to the stove in a way that reminded him of their cooking escapades in years gone by. "I don't think so. Dembe did some digging for me and Scottie reached out to some old Mossad allies she had. The hit's not their priority, and it sounds like as long as I don't make it one, neither will they."

Aram loosed a small, startled breath. "So you're staying?"

Her lips curled up, the smile reaching her eyes. "I'm staying." She pushed herself off forward, using the momentum to cover the step and a half between them and pressed a quick, surprise kiss to his lips. "So you can stop sulking."

"I'm not… I wasn't…"

"Sure you weren't."

"All clean!" Agnes announced and ran back into the room, displaying her hands for anyone that might question her.

Dinner was a much lighter affair than it might have been if Samar hadn't gotten a read on Aram's mood. They laughed and teased, ate and chatted until a knock on the door sent Agnes scurrying towards it. "Daddy!" she cried, tugging the door open without question.

Thankfully Tom was on the other side of it.

He flashed a bright grin of his own, bending down to scoop her up, spinning her around until he settled her in his arms and she draped herself over his shoulder in an unrelenting hug. "You miss me, kiddo?"

"Uh-huh! Are we gonna go see Mommy?"

"We are. She's just wrapping a few things up and we're going to go meet her at the park. How does that sound?" he asked, pressing a kiss to her temple and she nodded. "Why don't you go get your stuff?"

She squirmed to the floor, darting off to the guest room for her bag and leaving the adults there. Tom turned with a sheepish grin and wave. "Hey."

"They took their time clearing you, didn't they?" Aram asked, grabbing both his and Agnes' plate to move them to the sink.

"Yeah. Pretty sure they thought they were going to get more from me than they did."

Samar chuckled at that. "Their time wasted."

"And mine. Thanks for watching her."

"Any time."

"How's Liz?"

Tom turned to look at Aram and his friend's husband clearly understood the depth of the question. It wasn't the first time that any of them had been held and questioned. That was just another day with the Task Force. They'd all known what Mr Reddington had meant to her, even if it was difficult to keep up with it sometimes. Her father, not her father…. Aram didn't really think it mattered in the end. Despite everything, blood hadn't been what made their connection. It had been much deeper than that.

"She's… holding. Not ready to talk about it yet."

"We're here for her. She knows that, right?"

"Yeah, she knows. Mostly because everyone keeps telling her."

The amusement in his voice warred with the words and Aram stood balanced between how to respond. Finally the smile gave him away and he echoed it, ducking his head slightly.

"It's okay," Tom said quietly. "She needs to be reminded. You know Liz. She's an island."

"Yeah."

Tom's gaze shifted between Aram and Samar. "You two holding up?"

"We'll get there," Samar answered, her voice more confident than their collective history might have given them right to be.

"Ready!" Agnes announced as she crashed back into the conversation, her bag slung over her shoulder and grabbed Tom's hand, ready to drag him to the door.

"Hey, you," he called after her, putting on the breaks. "What do we say?"

Agnes turned and looked at them with the most sincere look any child could muster. "Thank you very much." She launched forward, wrapping herself around Samar's middle before moving to Aram and echoing the hug. "Love you!"

"You too," he answered and Tom offered them a helpless shrug as the little girl half dragged him out of the apartment, leaving Samar and Aram truly alone for the first time since they'd been reunited.

A long stretch of silence followed before Aram risked a look at her. "You're really staying?"

"Do you want me to?"

"More than anything."

"Good."

He felt a hesitant, but real smile tug into place, and for the first time since he'd realized that she had left, he felt like there might be a chance to make things right again.


"I have to admit that I thought you'd met your match this time."

Scottie finished pouring a glass of scotch, taking both it and its twin over to the couch where Melanie Cartwright sat waiting for it and offered the Assistant Attorney General a charming smile. "You've known me for a long time. Where's the faith?"

The other woman chuckled and took the drink. "At some point even the cat uses up her nine lives."

"Guess this just means that it wasn't my last. Now you know better than to bet against me."

"True." The glasses clinked and Scottie found Cartwright looking over the rim at her. "There are plenty of people you could have invited here this evening if your goal was to prove that not even a multi-decade, global conspiracy could dethrone you, and as much as I'd love to believe this is a social call…"

"It's not." Scottie reached around to the table next to the couch in her office and pressed her thumb against a hidden pad. It lit up, reading her print, and a panel opened to reveal a jump drive. She took it and held it out. "Needless to say there was information in the Sikorsky Archive that could have and would have compromised people in our own government."

"Why not hand it over to the FBI?"

"They received their fair share of it, but you and your boss may want to clean house."

Cartwright grimaced, eyeing the drive. "And in return?"

"Howard."

"Your Howard?"

Scottie's lips thinned at the incredulous tone. "I know that the government has been using his talents, but I believe they'd be better served here."

"You're bargaining for his freedom?"

"The DOJ has looked the other way when we've brought in certain operatives before. I'm simply asking you to do it again."

"Your board will never go for it."

"You let me worry about the board. What do you say? It's a small price to be able to handle your situation quietly."

There was a beat of silence, then another, before Cartwright reached forward and snagged the offering. "I'll have the paperwork sent over first thing in the morning."

"Perfect." They clinked the glasses together and Scottie took a long sip from her own. Negotiating Howard's release from federal custody wouldn't put her over the finishing line in repairing all of the broken trust between them, but someone had to make the first move, and as first moves went, she thought this one was a step in the right direction. She was willing to make it. For him, for their son, for their grandchild, and even for herself.


They had released them one by one. While they said it had to do with clearing their stories, Ressler had a suspicion that they were hoping to get things out of certain people. The group from Halcyon had been the first to walk free, those pricey lawyers that they kept on retainer making sure of it. Tom had been the exception to that, which only helped support Ressler's theory. Park had been the first released from their side, followed almost immediately by Aram. The rest of them had taken a little longer, and while they hadn't been held in cells until cleared - fit with tracking devices and sent home instead - the time had dragged on. Not that they'd gotten what they wanted from any of them. This wasn't their first time being framed.

The door to Cooper's office opened, drawing Ressler's attention as Liz made her way down the steps, typing quickly on her phone. He offered her a tired tug of his lips into something that resembled a lopsided smile. "I was starting to think they weren't letting you out."

Liz snorted. "They just released Tom. It's like they thought we knew something."

"You need to head out to go get Agnes?" They'd left her with Aram and Samar in hopes of providing a little bit of stability while they spent hours upon hours in a windowless room answering questions.

"He's grabbing her and coming to pick me up."

"So you have a few minutes?"

She leaned back against the desk. "Sure. Got something on your mind?"

Ressler started to give her a flippant, teasing answer, but then swallowed it before it escaped. He started and stopped another two times, the words warring in his mind and he saw his partner seem to clue in. "It's weird."

"Yeah?" he asked carefully, taking a seat at an empty desk. He hadn't seen her more than in passing in the last week and a half, but from what he understood she hadn't talked to anyone about what had happened. He wasn't the best at providing emotional support, but he could try. He wanted to.

"Isn't it? He was such an overwhelming part of all of our lives for years and he's just…. gone."

Ressler pursed his lips thoughtfully and let his eyes slip closed. "I still remember that day. Got the call after I'd already gone home, but I don't think I'd ever gotten back to work as fast as I did that evening. And I didn't even have a chopper come pick me up."

"I remember being so shocked. I handed Tom the keys and told him I didn't need the car." A soft, amused sound escaped her. "Like that was important then. I was about to be escorted over restricted airspace on my first day of work on a task force that would change everything, but the car seemed so important right then."

"Never could have dreamed it would have brought us here."

"No." He saw her gaze slide over to him. "You ever regret it?"

"Which part?"

"Any of it. The things that came to light, the things we did…."

"We did a lot of good, Liz."

"Was it worth it?"

"I think so."

She nodded, pulling in a deep breath and she rocked forward, elbows against bent knees and her clear blue eyes laser focused on him. "Dembe dropped by my place last night. More this morning than anything."

Ressler straightened at her conspiratorial tone. He was alive. The bastard had somehow made it.

"Reddington had it all set up to be pushed into motion in case he died. He was sick, you know. Maybe that's why he did it. Giving himself up, crashing the helicopter… everything."

Okay, so maybe not. A part of Ressler hated how disappointed he was in that. "He did it for you. You know that."

"I do."

"What'd Dembe want?"

She loosed a long breath. "To tell me that all of Reddington's assets had been transferred to me. His money and…. Everything else."

"What does that mean?"

"It means that the Blacklist can continue if we want it to."

"He left information?"

"I haven't gotten a chance to look at it yet, but it sounds like it. Probably not an A to B kind of map, but at least enough information for us to find these people."

"To put them on our radar," Ressler mused, and he couldn't help remembering that conference room eight years before. I certainly don't want your intelligence, Agent Ressler. I'm quite happy with my own. "Do you want to? Continue it, I mean?"

Liz didn't answer immediately. He would have understood if she said no. She'd been dragged into all of this, and in so many ways it had destroyed the life she thought she wanted.

"I think I do."

And maybe it had helped shape that life she loved too.

"You talk to Cooper yet?"

"Yeah. He's staying."

"Me too."

Her lips curled up at the corners, the smile reaching her eyes. "Wouldn't have it any other way."

The creaking groan of the lift drew both of their attentions around and the doors opened, emptying Tom and a very excited Agnes out. "Mama!" she called out, flying out of the lift and barrelling towards Liz. Ressler's partner stood and caught her mid-leap, spinning her daughter around and holding her close. "I missed you!"

"I missed you too," Liz answered, pressing a kiss to her daughter's dark hair.

"I may have promised her a visit to the park," Tom announced, a sheepish grin set firmly into place. "Are you good with grabbing take out and making a picnic of it? Someone already ate, but I bet we can bribe her with dessert." He winked at Agnes and she loosed a shrill giggle.

"I think I can get behind that," Liz answered. She looked back to Ressler. "You good?"

"Yeah. You?"

"I will be," she promised and straightened. "I'm going to take some time. With my family."

"But you're coming back?" he asked, and he hated how worried he sounded.

"Of course. There's no blacklist without me."

"Right." He glanced down at his goddaughter, offering her a quiet led smile. "You take care of your mom?"

"I will!" the little girl answered, but was already tugging Liz towards the exit.

Ressler offered Tom a nod of acknowledgement. "See you around, Tom."

"Count on it."

"And all the trouble that comes with it," the ginger agent chuckled and watched as the Keen family started towards the lift, Agnes chattering about her time with Aram and Samar the whole way. Ressler shoved hard at the sinking feeling the sight elicited. She'd be back. It wouldn't be the same without Reddington, but they'd find a way to hold onto the good he'd done with the Task Force.


Agnes prattled on and on about Uncle 'Ram and Auntie Samar - her designated names for them, not Liz's - all the way to the park. The long-winded story paused only briefly as Tom had reached back, tapping her on the leg as a signal as they pulled up to pick up their to-go order, and had immediately resumed as soon as they pulled away. It was good, Liz reminded herself. They had people they could rely on when things went sideways, and Agnes adored her godparents. She just hoped that she didn't have to rely on them nearly as much as she had in the past few weeks surrounding the newest batch of chaos that they had just lived through.

They got to the park and set up their feast at the picnic table. Liz hadn't realized just how starved she was until she started in on it, the BBQ they had picked up hitting the spot. She found herself reveling in the quiet, peaceful moments, the first they'd really had with each other in years now that she thought about it. Tom's smile and Agnes' laugh gave her life, despite the pain that she'd been shoving down to get through the last handful of days. The Powers that Be wanted to know more about Reddington. They wanted it on the record what had happened, but she - and as far as she knew, everyone else - had refused to give them that. Get the clearance, you get the information. That was the deal. No one had the clearance, they just wanted the intel. It had been a wild power grab if she'd ever seen one, and she wanted no part in it. She wouldn't be used to further someone else's career.

"I think she's going to have a meltdown if we don't go see the ducks," Tom's voice cut through Liz's thoughts and she turned an amused look on him.

"She knows which parent is the one to go to for that."

"You saying our kid can manipulate me?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying."

"And you'd be absolutely right." Tom leaned in, pressing a quick kiss to her lips. "Come find us when you're done eating."

She watched him follow after Agnes, their kid already racing after the ducks at the pond nearby. They both looked so happy. So content. It was more than she'd hoped for before he'd come crashing back onto the scene. He might not have everything back, but there was enough. She saw the man she loved, the man she'd chosen to raise their daughter with. They'd figure out the rest of life's complications as they came along.

"Masha."

Liz was halfway to reaching to her hip for the gun that she'd left in the car as she turned to find Katarina suddenly there, as if she'd appeared out of nowhere. She'd been taken with the rest of them, but how long she'd stayed in custody, Liz had no idea. No one would tell her anything and it had taken every resource she had to find out that she hadn't been dropped into a deep, dark hole somewhere. She'd just vanished and left the rest of them behind. Until now, apparently. "Mother," she greeted back.

"Let's take a walk."

She stood silently, risking a glance to where Tom was totally engrossed in Agnes' antics, before following after her mother. The two women walked into the nearby treeline, and out of immediate view of the busy area, Katarina leading the way. After they found themselves totally alone, Liz stopped. "I didn't know if I'd see you again."

Katarina paused, hesitating only a moment. "I needed to take care of a few things. I knew you were in good hands."

"Yeah, my own," Liz snapped, feeling her temper skyrocket without warning. "I didn't need you to take care of me, but after crashing back into my life I would have liked to have least gotten to say goodbye."

"Is that meant for me or your father?"

The words cut deep and she wondered if she was that easy to read to everyone else around her. "There's a difference in sacrificing yourself and leaving."

"Death does wipe away all of one's sins to the living, doesn't it?" Katarina asked, her tone amused and she tilted her head to indicate they had a bit further to go.

Liz followed, winding around behind her, and she opened her mouth to remind her that her family had no idea why she'd left when she spotted a familiar figure ahead.

He was seated and tired looking, but still wore that suit and fedora with the same style that he had since her earliest memory. Liz swallowed hard, tears blurring her vision.

"Don't be hard on him," her mother said softly. "He still did it for you."

She didn't bother to ask what that meant, but started forward, each step intentional. As she drew closer she found that just because a body hadn't been recovered didn't mean that Raymond Reddington had gotten out of the burning building without a scratch. He sat on the bench, his shoulders a little more slumped than they might have been any other time, and his gaze was fixed out on something in the distance. What, she wasn't sure. There were only trees in the direction he was looking.

"Reddington?"

He stiffened a little at that, turning towards her, and he looked older somehow. Healing burns marred his face and she saw that the arm furthest from her was in a sling. The same leg was stretched out as if it were injured as well, a cane set on the ground at his feet so that it wasn't immediately noticeable. "Elizabeth," he breathed, and his eyes lit up a little.

She swallowed hard, trying to keep control over her emotions, but even as she struggled with them she found it didn't matter as much. She covered the ground between them even as he stood, flinging her arms around him and pulling him to her. "I thought you were gone."

"I am," he said softly. "As far as the world is concerned, I am. You're free."

"What if I don't want to be?"

A low chuckle escaped him and he reached a hand to the side of her face, his thumb running along her cheek bone. "I've set it up so that your team can continue our work. The funds are there. You and Agnes and…. Tom will be well taken care of."

"We'd be fine without it."

"I know, but… let me give you this. Please."

"Red…." She reached up, her hand grasping onto his wrist. "I know you…. Whatever's going on, whatever health issues you've had… you're here. I don't want to waste time."

"It may not be as limited as we thought before," he answered. "Howard is proving a better friend than I gave him credit for, and the man has always had vast resources."

"He's taking care of you?"

"Yes."

"So this isn't goodbye?"

Reddington hesitated. "Elizabeth…. I have been in the middle of your life for too long now."

"You're my father. I want you in the middle."

"You're not safe as long as they know I'm alive."

"Bauer's dead. Alexei is dead. They recovered his body."

He offered her a strained smile. "You and I both know that my father was not my only enemy." He paused, looking like he was struggling with something. "Everything I have done has been to keep you safe. This as well, but to keep you - and your family - safe, no one must know."

"But it's not goodbye?" she pressed and he gave her a small smile.

"You have resources now that you never had before. I trust this isn't the end."

"I'm going to need you." The confession stuck in her throat halfway before making it free.

"And I'll be here. For as long as I am amble."

"Dembe…."

"He knows, but he also knows it's time. Look to him for anything you need. You'll provide an easier path for his soul in the end."

Liz tried for a smile, her tears making it difficult. She reached forward and Reddington met her there, pulling her into a hug and nestling a kiss to the side of her head. "I love you, Elizabeth. Never doubt that."

"I won't."

A touch to her shoulder drew her attention around reluctantly and Katarina offered the barest of smiles. "Take care."

"You too. Both of you."

She leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Liz's forehead before moving past her. Liz didn't dare to look back around. They were going, and if she turned now she'd stop them. She'd put them on countless lists and open them up to too many dangers. Better that the world thought them both gone. Safer.

"Liz?" Tom's voice broke through the silence that followed. Liz closed her eyes, steadying herself. She'd see them again, she had to believe that, but for now, it was time to focus on what lay ahead. She broke out of the thicket to find Tom looking for her, Agnes only marginally distracted. "Hey," he greeted. "Everything okay?"

"Just… getting some closure," she answered. "Did she find some ducks to feed?"

"So many," Tom chucked and Liz met him where he stood, her hand slipping into his.

"I'm here." The promise stood out, honest and real against an old one that she'd given him over eight years before. She was there for him. She was there for her family. Not just for them, but with them, above everything. Nothing was more important than that.

End.


Notes:

There's always a strange sense of both relief and sadness when I finish a project. It was there when I wrote the last words, but it wasn't quite done. I had to edit it and then it's not really over until the last chapter is posted and I change the settings over to show that it's a finished piece. Today's the day and while I'm thrilled to be working on a new pilot and some other things, I'm really sad to see this one come to a close. I started it maybe two years ago? It was an idea that took hold and just wouldn't let go, so I wrote a bit and then put it on the back shelf to work on some originals. Then around this time last year I dusted it off, took a look at it, and dove back in to get a good buffer between what I was posting and what I was writing in case I wondered off again. Months and a cross-country move later, here we are. And look, for those that I told that I would try to get Red out alive in this one, I succeeded ;)

I'm backlogged on a few one shots that I owe people for Keen2 that I hope to work on in the semi foreseeable future and will show up over in Truth in the Lies when they're posted. I also have this insistent plot bunny gnawing at me with an idea of the Cabal being responsible for Tom's 'murder' and that while Liz is on the run and trying to kill Red, Red and the Task Force find out that Tom's alive. I may have the first scene down. There's a chance if I think that one won't show up for a long while I'll post the scene over in Truth in the Lies as well. It's a sweet Liz and Agnes scene, talking about Tom so it'd fit nicely there.

I'm going to miss my weekly updates and hearing the screams (looking at you, Becca). You are all amazing! Give me a shout if you ever want to put a one shot request in for Truth in the Lies :)