Their Story By JoanneD

"You're Natalie?"

And so began the love story of Natalie Buchanan and John McBain.

John came to Llanview in 2003 as part of an undercover FBI operation to arrest Flynn Laurence, a criminal
who had his hand in many illegal operations. John infiltrated Flynn's organization, and at Flynn's orders,
traveled to Llanview to recruit Natalie Buchanan for an upcoming tournament. Sparks flew from their first
encounter at Crossroads. The chemistry between them was undeniable. Even Jessica noticed the connection
between them when she interrupted a sexy pool lesson between the two. Unfortunately, Natalie went through
with her wedding to Cristian Vega and they travelled to Las Vegas where Natalie participated in the
tournament. Natalie refused to deliberately lose the match and ended up kidnapped by Laurence. John and
Cristian worked together to rescue her, but Cristian perished in the rescue. (More on that later…)

Natalie returned to Llanview a widow and held John very much responsible for her loss. John, true to his
character, felt guilty for his role in Cristian's death and tried to reach out to Natalie when he returned to
Llanview on the investigative team for the Music Box murders. John became a regular at Rodi's where she
worked. Gradually, Natalie began to thaw towards John as he persistently and gently offered her friendship.

Natalie: I don't know why I came here.
John: You came here to tell me to go to hell.
Natalie: Go to hell.

Over the holiday season, John gave Natalie both comfort (over Macaroni and cheese) and laughter (with
fruitcakes!) As the MBK case progressed, it became apparent that the Killer had noticed the growing
relationship between John and Natalie. Natalie became a target and John attempted to distance himself from

Don't -- don't do that to me. Don't do that to me, all right? Just -- I can't risk it. Just get out.
Do you understand? Get out!

The MBK (Steven Haver) was not deterred. He kidnapped Natalie and in the story climax, John was forced
to de-program a bomb Haver had strapped to Natalie. The crisis further cemented the bond between the two.
Even after being shot dead, Haver was not done tormenting John. It turned out Haver had poisoned
prescription pills John took periodically for a past injury, and nearly killed John in the process. Natalie nursed
John back to health. It soon became clear their feelings for each other went beyond friendship.

Kathryn Fitzgerald, Caitlin's sister, came to town after being threatened by the Santi crime family. John and
Kathryn had previously worked together in the FBI and her visit to Llanview caused even more friction for
Natalie and John. Natalie misinterpreted their closeness, and became involved with Paul Cramer, who Kathryn
claimed had Santi ties. Natalie continued her dalliance with Paul Cramer and on one of their "dates" flew to
Atlantic City. While there Natalie realized she still had strong feelings for John, who had followed the couple.
Natalie decided to end things with Paul to explore her feelings for John. Natalie and John nearly
consummated their relationship, but Natalie put a stop to things when it became clear John was not over the
death of Caitlin.

When Cramer went missing and blood was found in his Atlantic City hotel room, Natalie was a prime suspect.
John defended Natalie, and refused to believe she would have a hand in killing Paul. John was right, as Paul
soon showed up alive and well. Natalie and Paul picked things up where they left off and John concentrated on
the Santi investigation.

Thus began a dark period in the Jolie story. John embarked on a fling with defense attorney Evangeline
Williamson which evolved into more. However, the friendship between John and Natalie remained strong yet
sorely tested by times.

Eventually, Natalie came to her senses and broke up with Paul, and John did his best to assure Paul left her
alone. When Paul was murdered, all evidence pointed to Natalie as the killer, and John was forced to
investigate. Natalie confided in him that Paul attacked her on the night of his murder, but she was not
responsible for his death. Later an eyewitness and further evidence cleared Natalie of the murder.

Natalie: I can't believe you still care about me.

John: Don't you know by now, I never stopped.

Back to Cristian. In true soap fashion, he returned from the dead. Natalie was overjoyed and jumped into her
husband's loving arms. John was stunned by Cristian's return. Natalie was reluctant to tell Cris that she was
now friends with John and that they had explored a romantic relationship. John and Natalie reluctantly agreed
to keep their distance from each other.

John: We can do this right, just sit? Are you telling me that has to stop too?
Natalie: It has to. Look at us.

John quickly noticed a tortured and violent side to Cristian, and warned Natalie he could be dangerous.
Slowly he became convinced that Cristian was not Cristian at all, and shared his suspicions with Natalie.
John's apparent obsession with Natalie's marriage caused considerable friction between John and
Evangeline. Natalie agreed to a DNA test in order to prove John wrong. Before the results came in,
Cristian confessed to killing Tico and admitted to Natalie that he was an imposter. Natalie was devastated.
Cristian was sent to prison, but not before John received the DNA results---which revealed that the imposter
really was an amnesiac Cristian. To spare Natalie the pain of a husband imprisoned for life, Cristian asked
John to keep the ruse that he was an imposter, so Natalie could move on. John wrestled with the decision, and
agreed, letting Natalie believe her husband was dead. John continued his affair with Evangeline even though
his feelings for Natalie remain an ambiguous and unresolved area in his life.

John began a new investigation -the Killing Club case, and was especially concerned when it seemed the killer
was targeting Natalie after murdering a waitress at the diner with a striking resemblance to Natalie.

I thought it was you, I thought it was you!

Natalie developed a renewed interest in pursuing a relationship with John. Her job at the LPD provided ample
opportunity for them to continue to orbit each other. John's unresolved feelings rose to the surface as
Natalie had a casual date with Ron Walsh. John's jealousy was apparent. Natalie decided to "help" with the
Killing Club case. John told Natalie he couldn't lose another person he loves after her plan to trap the killer
backfired. When Evangeline found out she was devastated, especially since John had never been able to tell
her he loves her. Evangeline realized that he was not committing to her the way that she needed and decided to
end their relationship.

Soon after, Natalie and Evangeline were kidnapped by the killer. John frantically searched for them and
tracked them down to the community center, where the killer had tied them to stakes and set the kindlings below
them on fire. Forced to choose who to save first, John saw Natalie struggling with consciousness and went to
her. After saving Natalie, he rescued Evangeline. While John's back was turned, the killer took Natalie once
again. Evangeline was hurt by John's choice to save Natalie first, and saw it as affirmation that he always truly
loved the beautiful redhead. John denied any deeper feeling motivation his action.

John obsessively searched for Natalie.


Natalie languished in a pit on Llantano Mountain. Her memories of John gave her continued will to live. After
weeks of searching, John found her just as the walls of the pit caved in around her.

I'm not losing her. I can't.

In a daring rescue, John climbed into the pit and sent Natalie to safety. At the hospital, John kept watch over
Natalie as she was reunited with her relieved family.

Natalie: Why is it that every time I open my eyes from the dark there you are?
John: Just lucky, I guess.

Alone, they shared several soul-stirring kisses.

I figured after everything we've been through we deserved a moment like that.

Natalie made a quick recovery and she and John discussed taking their relationship further.

Natalie: I don't -- I don't know. I mean, we're great together in a crisis, but what if we don't get
along in real life without all the drama?
John: Then again, almost losing you -- it doesn't get much more real than that.

Natalie: I want you so much right now, John. I just feel like I'm going to fall apart. You know, and
I wanted to prove something to you. I want you to know that I'm committed to you and only you,
and I just -- it all feels like too much right now. I'm sorry.
John: Don't be. Hey. Come here. I ain't going anywhere. And if anyone's got something to
prove, it's me. I'm here. I ain't letting you go.

However, John was haunted by the knowledge that Cristian was still alive. After a visit to the prison, John
chose to be with Natalie anyway. He invited Natalie to the rooftop of the Angel Square Hotel where the
couple finally made love for the first time.

Natalie and John were blissfully happy for a brief period. Even on a stakeout, Natalie was on John's mind and
they shared a flirty phone call when he discovered he could see directly into her bedroom. John took their
relationship public when he kissed Natalie at the LPD in full view of their co-workers.

However, the secret of the real Cristian being alive in prison, continued to torment John. Evangeline's nosy
sister broke into John's room and stole the information that would unravel Natalie's happiness. John promised
to help Cristian prove his innocence, accepting that he'd have to tell Natalie the truth about Cristian.

I love you, John, I really love you.

Unable to deny himself, John spent one last night in Natalie's arms.

Let's make tonight about you… (tear some clothes off) and me… (tear more clothes off).

Before he could break the news to Natalie, John and Cristian were trapped in a riot at Statesville prison and
forced to work together to stop Carlo Hesser. Thanks to Evangeline, Natalie learned Cristian was alive and
that John had kept the truth from her. Natalie ended up inside the prison as Carlo's hostage. With one bullet
left, Carlo attempted to force Natalie who would live or die, John or Cris. She refused saying that she loved
both men. John and Cristian overpowered Carlo and his henchman and the three left the prison unharmed,
physically. Natalie, furious at John and Cristian for their deception, told the two she never wanted to see them

I never want to see either one of you lying bastards again.

Cris was convinced he and Natalie could overcome all they had been through and pursued her relentlessly.
John on the other hand recognized that Natalie needed time and space to pick up the pieces of her life.
Unfortunately, their mutual employment at the LPD forced them to see each other, but Natalie continued to
keep John at arm's length.

I hate you.

On Christmas Eve, Natalie attempted to retrieve the medal she had delivered to John's office, but was caught
by John before she could leave. It was obvious that Natalie's feelings for John were not dead. The St .
Jude's medal became an important symbol of their relationship.

Their relationship continued its ups and downs. Natalie found herself upset by John's continued friendship
with Evangeline. They fought over the fact that Natalie didn't want to be with John, but was bothered by
seeing him with someone else.

Come on, Mr. FBI Agent.

After John's suspension from the force as a result of shooting a suspect, Natalie's soft heart refused to let
her turn her back on John. She reached out to John in friendship.

Natalie: I wasn't sure you'd come.

John: Of course I did, you asked me to.

We were never just friends.

John was forced into therapy with the station psychiatrist, Dr. Crosby. Crosby zeroed in on John and
Natalie's relationship as a possible source of problems for John. An attempt by Crosby to glean information
from Natalie was torpedoed when the pair stuck together despite their turbulent relationship. Natalie refused
to turn on John and deemed him a "hero". Crosby was struck by the depth of John's feelings for Natalie.

Natalie is the one death you could never recover from.

Natalie tried to prevent John from escorting Todd Manning to prison. Her sixth sense proved right when the
plane went down. John was rescued but refused to be hospitalized. A condition of his release was that
Natalie stay with him and nurse him. The close proximity proved too much and they shared a tender kiss, proving
that the romance was far from over.

A result of the therapy with Crosby was John's rediscovery of his guilt over his father's unsolved murder. John
became obsessed with finding his father's killer. Much to his chagrin, Natalie decided to work on the case with
him, or without him as the case was, to further her studies as a forensic technician.

Natalie came up with some great leads but also landed herself in some sticky situations. John continued to be
protective of Natalie and tried to warn off some of the seedier characters she encountered. Vincent Jones led
Natalie to a meeting with George, a former mobster. John was hot on their trail.

Damn it, Natalie.

John broke into Natalie's meeting with George.

Natalie: Look, Cristian's a good artist. He -- he can sketch your father's shooter based on this
guy's description.
John: Forget it.
Natalie: Why?
John: You really want to bring your ex-husband into it? I mean, who's next? The guy that took
you to your senior prom?

Although they got valuable information from George, John wanted Natalie far away from the investigation.
They had a huge fight at Llanfair.

Natalie: Well, give me a gold star for initiative.
John: Oh, that's so witty.
Natalie: Get over -- you used to be able to laugh at yourself when you were acting like an idiot.
John: What is that, you trying to get on my good side?
Natalie: What good side? John, all you've been is an ass lately. You know, I didn't think that
that wall around you could go up any higher, but I guess I underestimated how screwed up you
really are.
John: Leaving now.
Natalie: But I know you. I may the only person who knows you're this close to the edge, and
somebody has got to watch your back before you get yourself killed, sent to prison, or -- or
John: Hey, will you shut up and listen for once in your life? This is not a game. This is real and
it's dangerous, and I don't want to lose you. I -- I can't lose you.
John: I can't do this again.
Natalie: Wow, there's something new. Something happens, you feel something, you just can't
wait to run to the door.
Natalie: Think about it, John. You can't love anyone. And certainly no one can love you. Not
me, not your brother, not even your job, because of revenge.
John: If I remember correctly, you left me.

On the day of Michael and Marci's wedding, Natalie came to the realization that David Vickers as a teen had
pulled the trigger and been responsible for Thomas McBain's death. Just as she gave this information to
John, the church was hit by a tornado. All thoughts of his father's death left John as he focused on finding
Natalie in the rubble. His relief at finding her was short-lived as he realized that she was badly injured. As
Natalie drifted in and out of consciousness, John struggled to keep her awake. His kiss revived her at one

John: Listen, has the pain eased up any?
Natalie: A little. It must have been that "anesthesia" you used -- pretty strong stuff.
John: And let me know when you need another dose.
Natalie: You're always here to take care of me, aren't you?
John: Not so much lately. I'm working on changing that.

John: I was earlier when I thought you weren't going to wake up again. You know, you said it --
you said it a lot of times before, but I guess I was too stubborn to listen.
Natalie: What did I say?
John: You and me, we're -- we're pretty good together, you know? I guess -- I guess what I'm
asking for is a chance to prove it, and, I promise, this time I'll come through.

When the crisis was over, John resumed tracking David Vickers. Natalie refused to let John travel to Thailand
alone, fearing he would kill Vickers. John and Natalie were shocked to discover Margaret Cochran, whom
everyone believed Todd Manning had killed, alive. They raced to Llanview to stop Todd's execution.

In the aftermath of the Thailand adventure, John accepted Natalie's role as his partner on the case. He and
Natalie officially resumed their relationship and Natalie more or less moved into the Angel Square Hotel.
Unfortunately, John's obsession with the case did not end there. He wanted Spencer Truman to pay for his
role in Thomas' murder. He became convinced that it had actually been Truman who pulled the trigger.

Throughout the summer, Natalie remained John's safe haven as he built the case against Spencer. The
rooftop became their refuge. Although consumed by the case, there were many tender moments.

John: Did you see that?

Natalie: It's a shooting star.

John: Yeah. You know, I think you're supposed to make a wish when you see one of those.

Natalie: Ok. Done.

John: What'd you wish for?

Natalie: I can't tell you that, or else it won't come true.

John: No, I think that's -- I think that's when you're blowing out your birthday candles or
something like that. Don't think there's any rules about shooting stars.

Natalie: You sure?

John: I'm positive, I think.

Natalie: Fine. I wished that it could be like this -- happy and quiet -- forever.

John: Yeah, sometimes quiet is good.

Natalie: Yeah. Sometimes. So how about you? Going to make a wish?

John: Hmm. Well, I think it's a little late for me.

Natalie: Oh, it's never too late.

Finally, Spencer was arrested and a conviction looked likely. John felt at peace, and looked forward to a
future with Natalie.

John: Hey, look, I have some loose ends to tie up, and then I can focus on things that are more

Natalie: Like what?

John: Guess.

Shortly after, John was in a terrible pile up on the highway as he travelled to Atlantic City to visit his father's
grave. A burnt body was identified as John based on the belongings found next to the body. Natalie began
the process of dealing with her grief and the unfathomable reality of life without John. Adding to her grief was
the knowledge that John had been planning to propose to her.

In actuality, the burnt body was Hugh Hughes, whom had mistakenly taken John's bag and was thus
misidentified. John burnt and unconscious, was incorrectly identified as Hugh Hughes and lay in a coma.
Vincent Jones, Hugh's old friend, figured out the mix-up. Vincent told Natalie, who worked doggedly to prove
John was Hugh. She did and the lovers were reunited.

Natalie: I love you, John McBain. Do you hear that? John? John!

John: Hey, Natalie.

Natalie: You look exhausted. Why don't you get some rest?

John: You know, I used to let you do all the talking. I never really had to say much.

Natalie: It's ok. I never complained, really.

John: You should have. It was wrong.

Natalie: John, no.

John: Shut up and listen.

Natalie: Ok.

John: Before the accident, before the crash, I realized there was something I wanted to tell you.
I nearly didn't get my chance. What I wanted to tell you was -- what I wanted to tell you was I
love you.

John: I wanted to tell you that night -- not like this. I wanted to do it right.

Natalie: It doesn't matter. You're alive. We've been given a second chance.

John: Hopefully we won't screw it up this time.

Natalie: We can't. You came back to me and we love each other. It doesn't get more perfect than

John's recovery took a steep toll on their relationship. His need to return to normal and take control of his life
was in direct conflict with Natalie's need to care for him. Many arguments ensued, but there were a few moments
that highlighted their deep love and need for each other.

Nat:*sighing* I miss this...I miss being close to you...I miss you...
John: I missed you too...
John: We shouldn't have to miss each other anymore.

Spencer Truman's murder was the catalyst for yet more problems between John and Natalie. Worried that
John had killed Truman, she removed evidence that could link him to the scene. John was furious. Sometime
alone on a plane led John to remember the great moments of their relationship and caused him to ponder the
engagement ring her still had. Sadly, Natalie confessed to Bo, resulting in her being dismissed from the
forensics program and a stern reprimand for John. Again, John was furious.

Some mixed signals and messages, caused Natalie to believe that John was proposing to her, finally. John was
forced to break her heart by telling her that he hadn't planned to propose and in fact he wasn't sure where their
relationship was headed. Heartbroken, Natalie decided that they needed space and ended the relationship.

John: Hey. Are -- are you saying you think we -- we should break up?

Natalie: I love you. And I believe that you love me.

John: You know I love you.

Natalie: I used to think that that was enough, hearing you say it, because I knew how hard it was
for you, but -- but it isn't. I don't know. Maybe we're just too much alike. You know, we're always
acting on impulse, wanting to call the shots. You know? And we really -- we didn't have time to
figure that out before the accident, and I guess now, we've had time, and all we do is we walk on
eggshells. And I don't want to live like that. Do you want to live like that?

John: No, I don't.

Natalie: Yeah, me, neither.

John: It sounds to me like -- like we're giving up. And I'm not good at that.

Natalie: What should we do? Go to couples' counseling?

John: Yeah, I can't see us doing that, either.

Natalie: You know I'm right.

John: Yeah.

Natalie: I'm going to miss you so much.

[Natalie sighs]

John: Hey, you know, we were friends before. That should mean something, you know, the way
that we were always there for one another.

Natalie: You weren't just my friend. You were my -- my best friend.

John: I hope there's some way we can hang on to that.

After one last night of love-making, John and Natalie went their separate ways.

Over the course of the next few months, John and Natalie struggled to establish the friendship they had
discussed when they broke up. Natalie decided to leave the LPD and begin working at Buchanan Enterprises
much to her grandfather's delight.

John's friendship with Marty Saybrooke drew scorn from Natalie and John had trouble not giving into his
protective instincts where Natalie was concerned. He particularly did not like that she championed Miles

If Natalie so much as stubs her toe when you're around, I'll rip your heart out.

Don't even look at her.

Months after their breakup, John and Natalie played pool together. John admitted to Natalie that he finally
understood her actions in removing the evidence from the Truman murder scene.

Natalie: Come on. Don't play games -- I've seen you naked. I think you figured out that Lindsay
killed Truman to keep him quiet about Michael's baby, and you decided to keep the information
to yourself.

John: You know, I've been thinking a lot about that. What I've decided is -- I owe you an

Natalie: You want to apologize to me?

John: I withheld information to protect my brother. You withheld information to protect me. If I
didn't say I was sorry to you, I'd be a real hypocrite, wouldn't I?

Natalie: Thank you for that.

John: Sure.

Natalie: It's really not that big of a deal.

John: We broke up over it.

Natalie: No, we broke up because we were having a lot of problems, and what I did -- we just
hung it on that.

John: I want you to know I get it now.

Natalie: Ok.

John: And I want things to be right between us.

Natalie: Why? Because I saw you kissing Marty Saybrooke?

John: That just happened. I didn't mean for you to see it.

Natalie: We're not together anymore. You're a free agent.

John: Ok. But for what it's worth, if I saw you kissing some other guy --

Natalie: What?

John: I probably wouldn't like it.

Natalie: It would bother you to see me with someone else?

John: I did see you kissing Miles Laurence.

Natalie: Oh, right. So that lecture that you gave me about me being such a lousy judge of
character -- that was you being bothered by me being with another guy?

John: Mm-hmm. The fact that I hate the guy.

[Natalie chuckles]

Natalie: Well, you would. After all, he's Marty's ex-husband. Anyway, thank you for the
apology. I know that wasn't easy for you.

John: Well, it's more about you, but you're welcome.

December of 2007 found both John and Natalie in a dark place. They ended up sharing some drinks at
Capricorn and eventually made their way to the John's room at the Angel Square Hotel. They spent a
passionate night in each other's arms which neither regretted.

John frequented Natalie's office at BE a few times during his investigation into the Alison Perkins case. The
connection between the two was still apparent to the rest of the world.

John began a sting operation with fellow officers Antonio and Talia. For the most part, it didn't bother John
when people readily believed that he was uncaringly having an affair with Talia. When it became too much, he
headed for his safe place – Natalie. Natalie, of course, wasn't buying that John would do this to Antonio.

Natalie: Antonio is a friend and a cop. John, this isn't like you.

John: So you heard?

Natalie: Yeah, I heard. And I know you, John, and don't you tell me that I'm wrong -- look at
your face.

John: What I did before was a mistake.

Natalie: You almost kiss me, and that's all you can say?

John: Okay, I should go.

Natalie: John, come on! You -- you sleep with Talia in a motel room, you get caught by
Antonio, you get into a fistfight. A day later, you show up at my office out of the blue and you
come on to me?

John: Like I said, I guess it was a mistake.

Natalie: You suck at lying. What's with you?

John: I'll explain someday. None of this is about you.

Natalie: John --

John: You look pretty.

Natalie: Wait!

Since then, interaction between our hero and heroine has been non-existent. We remain faithful that this story