Sam watched as the two detectives helped Doctor Conroy move the sedated, weeping Amy to his office at the end of the hall. ``Thanks for the help,'' Joanna said, coming up to Sam. ``I don't know where you got your training, but you handled that just like a pro, Tommie.'' ``I...watch a lot of medical shows on television,'' Sam said the first thing that came to mind. ``What happened?'' he asked, nodding toward the back of the hall. ``Her daughter, Sharon, was found dead in her home about an hour or so ago,'' Joanna said, confirming what Sam already knew. ``She was Amy's only child.'' Her eyes softened in sympathy as they strayed to the doctor's office door. ``Poor thing. Vinnie, her husband died not quite a year ago, and now this.'' She shivered, then said in a low whisper, ``I heard one of the detectives tell her that they found a rose on her body.'' She shivered again, wrapping her arms around herself tightly. ``He's back.'' ``What do you mean?'' Sam asked. ``Who's back?'' ``The first one happened on November 2, 1985,'' Joanna said. ``My birthday.'' ``What happened?'' ``The first of what the police called ``The White Rose'' murders,'' Joanna replied. ``Then somebody with a sick sense of humor started calling them the ``Rose-Nose'' murders because in addition to leaving a rose, the bastard also cut off each victim's nose.'' Shaking her head as if to dispel the gruesome path her mind was turning to, she met Sam's eyes and put a hand on his arm. ``You be careful, Tommie.'' She waited just long enough to see Sam nod then turned toward the front of the office. Almost as an afterthought she said, ``I'll call you a cab.'' Turning so his back was to Joanna as she dialed the phone, Sam said softly, ``Have Ziggy research Derek's family. I want to know every about him from what time he was born to the day he dies. And dig into my..Tommie's background, too.'' ``You got it,'' Al said as he swiftly punched in the request on the handlink. ``I'll also have Gooshie cross reference every one of the ``White Rose'' murders with Tommie and Derek's lives.'' He glanced up to find his friend looking at him. ``What?'' He lowered the handlink. ``What, Sam?'' The clouded expression on the face he knew almost as well as his own began to bother him as Sam just continued to look at him. ``Talk to me!'' he ordered sharply. ``I'm afraid, Al.'' The words were low but clear. ``I really don't see how I'm going to pull this one off.'' Sam stared into the dark eyes he'd looked to so often for guidance and reassurance. Now he again searched the depths of those eyes for reassurance, for the even level gaze that would tell him that the Observer knew, without knowing how, that even though this leap had started off horribly, that he would succeed and put right whatever had originally gone wrong. ``I don't think I can do this.'' ``Now this is a first,'' Al said, biting the words off as he threw his cigar down, the Chivello disappearing as it lost contact with his hand. Ignoring the startled look on Sam's face he pushed his face as close to Sam's as he could without ``melting'' into him. ``The world's most stubborn genius and oldest Boy Scout giving up just because he had a rough start to this leap. Get a grip, Sam!'' Sam, rocked at the vehemence of the Observer's apparent lack of concern, hissed defensively, ``You try opening your eyes in a strange situation, be nearly beaten to death and almost raped, and see how you react!'' Al understood all too well. ``My first three days after being captured by the Viet Cong,'' he snapped. The ugly memories he'd buried what seemed centuries ago, slipped back into Al's mind as easily as putrid quicksilver. He remembered the intimidation, the humilitation and how easy it would have been to give up. Even twenty-eight years after the fact, standing in the Imaging Chamber Al felt the faded scars on his back tingle as he felt again the beatings when he hadn't surrendered his will to that of his captors. ``I know what it feels like to be punched and kicked and beaten until I was a bloody pulp,'' he said with a passionate intensity he rarely allowed even those closest to him to see. ``And there wasn't any ``nearly'' for me. When I didn't break, those bastards raped me every day in those three days.'' But the memories also brought with them the survival training and other things that had gotten the young Naval pilot through that and all the times that followed. ``I couldn't.. didn't let `em know I was afraid,'' Al went on, his tone a bit calmer but no less intense as he used his voice to force his friend to hold his gaze. ``And you can't let Derek see in you either, Sam. Because when he sees that you...that Tommie has given up, he'll have won.'' He paused. ``And when that happens, when any bastard like that wins, you're the one who pays.... usually with your life.'' The expression on Sam's face took the some of the heat out of Al's words. ``You'll do it, Sam,'' he said with quiet force. ``You wouldn't have been brought here if ....Somebody didn't think you could pull it off. And with me watching your back, the odds are even more in your favor.'' ``Your cab's here,'' Joanna interrupted the harsh pep talk she didn't know was going on. ``You okay, Tommie?'' she asked. ``You look.. I dunno know..a little flushed. You feel alright?'' Before Sam could respond, the handlink squealed, and he could only wonder as he watched Al read the information being transmitted then immediately order, ``Center me on him, Gooshie!'', and pop out. He jumped when Joanna touched his arm. ``Tommie, take it easy. It's just me. Are you sure you're okay?'' Joanna asked, slipping an arm around Sam's shoulder. ``Do you want me to drive you home?'' ``I..I'm not....'' ``You're not thinking of going to work are you? Tommie, you can't...'' ``No, I'm not going into work,'' Sam answered. ``I..you just startled me.'' Sam made the appropriate responses as Joanna walked him out to the cab. After closing the door, she had bent down to look at him and said, ``Call me if you need me, honey. Remember,'' she reached in to put a hand on Sam's arm, ``I've got that extra room if you need a place to stay.'' ``Thanks,'' he said with as much of a smile as he could muster, then leaned back against the seat as the cab began to move.