Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Blacklist.

Liz's heart was pounding and her breathing was coming in short gasps. She had to stay quiet, it was imperative for her safety. She was looking for the blacklister that they'd had surrounded, but had somehow escaped into thin air. He was one of the worst on Red's list, being a pedophile, so it was extremely important that he was caught that night. He'd already victimized enough children and couldn't be allowed to carry on. The FBI agents had split up after his escape and spread out over a two block area and were searching each building for him.

She and Meera had received the unfortunate assignment of searching an old abandoned warehouse that was cold, dark and creepy. Of course they had to try to catch this guy when it was dark outside, because it would have been too easy in daylight. She shook her head with the absurdity of it all and refocused her thoughts. She couldn't have anyone attacking her from behind or sneaking out in front of her because she was annoyed with the situation. She needed to do her damn job and catch the bastard.

She'd sent Meera off in the opposite direction so they could check the building faster, and she had regretted that decision almost immediately. She felt exposed on all sides and her eyes kept playing tricks on her. She'd sworn that she'd seen shadows moving out of the corner of her eye at least three or four different times, but when she'd turned her flashlight towards them, there was nothing there.

She felt like she was six years old again, when she'd been terrified of the dark and called for her father to come and check in the closet and under the bed for monsters each night. He had patiently checked for her, and reassured her multiple times that there was nothing there, that it was just her imagination, but she never quite believed him. It took until she was fifteen or sixteen to stop sleeping with a light on in her room. Even now, at age thirty-five, she had nightmares and had to turn her bedside lamp on to keep the monsters out; only they were different monsters than when she was a little girl. These monsters were real, and she had recurring bad dreams about them killing her or Red right in front of her. She never could go back to sleep after those dreams, and often slipped out of bed and went downstairs to watch TV.

She wished she had someone to talk to about her insomnia, but she was no longer married, and she wasn't close enough to Ressler or Meera to talk to them. That left Red, and while she had grown closer to him over time and would understand what she was going through, she still didn't feel comfortable enough calling him in the middle of the night. He often asked why she looked so tired, but she would just brush him off with the excuse of, "Oh, I just went to bed late" or "I was working late". She didn't think he believed her, because he would narrow his eyes and purse his lips, but she would walk away before he had the chance to question her further.

Liz heard another sound and shook herself out of her thoughts once again. She could ruminate about Red later, her lack of attention could kill her now.

They'd been in the building for over a half hour and Liz was almost done with her section, she hadn't seen anything and figured that their blacklister wasn't in this building. She called over her radio to Meera, "Hey..anything?"

She heard Meera's fuzzy voice a moment later, "Nothing. I don't think he's here."

"Agreed, I have one more room to check then we can meet back at the front. Copy?"

"Copy. See you soon."

Liz attached her radio back to her belt and opened the last door. It was another empty room and Liz sighed with relief. She began to turn around, but felt the hairs on her neck and arms stand up. There was someone standing behind her.

She quickly turned around and punched whomever it was in the face as hard as she could, then kicked behind their knee to drop them. She heard a muffled cry that sounded awfully familiar and shined her flashlight on them. It was Red.

"Red! What the HELL are you doing here? I could have shot you. Why didn't you say anything?"

He took his hands off his face, and slowly sat up; blood was running from his nose as he squinted up at her.

"I didn't want you to shoot me before I had a chance to announce that it was me. I was trying to be quiet and not startle you, but obviously that had the opposite effect." He dug a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the blood away from his face, but it kept coming out, so he held it there.

She shook her head and holstered her gun, then held her hand out to help him up. He took it and stood up with a groan, putting all of his weight on his uninjured knee, "Nice defensive moves Lizzy, you've been taught well, you may have even torn a few ligaments in my knee."

She grimaced, "I'm sorry, but you have to admit that it's mostly your fault for scaring me."

He nodded, "It was my fault, and now I'll know from now from now on to never startle you, or you might break a few ribs." He smirked.

"Funny. Why are you here anyway?"

He put his arm around her shoulders for support and said, "They caught the blacklister in another building, but couldn't reach you on your radio to let you know. Naturally, I volunteered to inform you, but I'm regretting that decision now."

She put her arm around his waist and started leading him out of the room, "I'm not going to keep apologizing. That first apology is the only one you're going to get."

He huffed a small laugh, leaning almost all of his weight on her, "I wouldn't expect you to, sweetheart."

Liz sighed; she felt like she was being crushed, but was doing her best not to show it. It was partly her fault for this predicament, so she wasn't going to complain about his weight.

She called Meera over the radio and told her that she had Red with her, and that she might need help getting him out of the building because she injured him. The only response was Meera's cackling over the radio.

One week later

Liz sat in the hospital waiting room, waiting for Red to get out of knee surgery. She had torn his PCL when she'd kicked him, and now he was going to be on crutches for weeks. She felt a little bad; but he had been so obnoxious about it, that that sympathy was slowly morphing into annoyance.

Dembe was sitting a few chairs down from her reading a magazine and didn't seem to have a care in the world. Liz hated hospitals and was starting to feel a little anxious the longer she sat there.

After a couple of hours, the doctor walked out and said, "Are you Raymond's family?"

She didn't bother to correct him, so she stood up and nodded, "Yes, how did it go?" Dembe made his way over and stood beside Liz quietly.

The Doctor smiled, "Everything went well. He's in recovery now, but you should be able to see him within the hour. A nurse will come out and let you know."

Liz nodded, "Thanks."

The Doctor smiled and left the same way he'd come in.

After another forty-five minutes a nurse walked out, "You can go see him now if you want. He's a little out of it, so take what he says with a grain of salt."

Liz smiled, "Thanks, but that's not anything new for him."

The nurse looked a little confused but smiled again and walked away.

Liz turned to Dembe, "Why don't you go see him first, I'm not sure he'll want to see me."

Dembe shook his head, "Raymond always wants to see you, but I will go first and see how "out of it" he is."

"Thanks Dembe." She watched him as he walked through the doors, and Liz picked up a magazine that she'd already read through twice, and sighed.

Ten minutes passed before Dembe walked back in to the waiting room, "He is asking for you."

She stood up and smoothed her clothes and her hair, suddenly nervous. She saw Dembe watching her, and she blushed as he said, "You look fine Agent Keen. Do not be nervous."

She smiled and walked past him through the doors, taking a deep breath. Red was hard enough to deal with when he wasn't on drugs, she didn't know how he was going to be drugged up.

Liz approached his room and smiled as she walked in. He had a faraway look on his face, one she'd never seen on him before, and almost laughed. He must have heard her footsteps because he turned towards her with a goofy grin, "Lizzy! Aren't you a sight for sore eyes."

She shook her head, "Whatever Red, how are you feeling?"

He patted the bed next to him and said, "Come sit down and make yourself comfortable."

"The chair's fine."

His face went serious, "Please Lizzy, come sit next to me."

She hesitated, but acquiesced after a few moments, and settled herself next to his hip. He was warm, and smelled like the aftershave that she loved so much. "Are you in pain?"

He reached for her hand and she let him take it; he laced their fingers together, "I'm on so many drugs that I feel better than I have in years." The goofy grin was back and it made Liz laugh. She liked this side of him and wished he would show the more playful side of him more often. It didn't matter that this was drug induced.

She smiled, "Good, I'm glad."

"You know, Lizzy, this wouldn't be necessary if you wouldn't have punched me."

She patted his chest with her other hand, "And if you wouldn't have snuck up on me, then I wouldn't have had to punch you."

He laughed loudly, then captured her hand that was lying on his chest. He brought it up to his lips and kissed her scar gently then whispered, "I'm so sorry this happened to you."

She was confused at the sudden turn in subject, "Red, that happened a long time ago. I'm fine."

He made eye contact with her and suddenly didn't look drugged at all, "I know, but I still hate that I couldn't protect you."

She tried to pull her hand away but he tightened his grip, then kissed her wrist once more before letting it go.

Liz was flustered by the emotions he evoked in her and said, "I think it's time to let you rest. I'll be back later to check on you."

She started to stand up but Red stopped her with his words, "Will you lay here with me, until I fall asleep?"

"Red." She sighed, about to refuse him, but then saw the look on his face. He just wanted the company and someone there to support him, she couldn't deny him that.

He smiled faintly and moved his body over a little, trying not to disturb his elevated leg.

She laid down next to him in the small space and tried not to touch him too much, but he put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. She didn't want to fight him, so she went willingly and laid her head on his shoulder. She felt him bury his nose in her hair, then kiss the top of her head, before settling himself back into the bed and closing his eyes.

Liz lay there, listening to the sound of his breathing, until it eventually lulled her into sleep as well.


Dembe walked in an hour later, and found Raymond and Agent Keen asleep on the bed together. She had her arm wrapped around his waist and he had her pulled close with an arm around her shoulders. He smiled and turned around; he certainly wasn't going to be the one to wake them up and felt sorry for whoever's job that was.

Author's Note: This is part 1 of 2. This is set sometime in the future, but not too far, maybe a year or two after they began to work together. Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think. Good or bad. :)