Been rewatching Hunter so this is my first attempt at fanfic in this fandom

Title: Dreams and What Ifs
author: Cindy Ryan
category: episode tag

Being a cop Hunter was used to receiving phone calls at odd hours. Especially since he worked homicide. It was true crime didn't sleep. This two am call on a thursday wasn't from the station. It was from one of Rick's contacts. A bartender named Damon Young who worked at the Red Line.

"Damon this better be good."Rick muttered sleepily after greetings were exchanged.

"That's the thanks I get for doing you a favor, Hunter."The bartender commented and Rick could hear glassware clinking in the background.

"Damon."Hunter groused.

"Thought you'd want to come take your partner home."Damon suggested.

At that Rick was fully awake and sitting up.

"McCall's drunk?"Rick asked.

"I wouldn't say drunk. She's had a few but not too many."The bartender hedged."Just trust me and get over here, Rick. Something's off with her."

"Okay thanks for calling. Be there in twenty."Rick replied as he hung up.

Rick quickly got up found a clean pair of jeans and a shirt. He changed put on shoes grabbed his jacket and keys and left.

The fact that Dee Dee was at the Red Line in the first place sent up a warning flag for Hunter. The bar wasn't close to her apartment. Rick frowned at the thought as he pulled into the parking lot; parked shut the engine off and got out. Entering the bar he was able to spot his partner fairly easily since the place was nearly deserted this being past last call. Rick nodded at Damon before sliding into the empty seat next to McCall at the bar.

"You just in the neighborhood, Hunter?"McCall asked barely glancing Rick's way as she took a sip of her drink.

"You could say that."Rick replied. "You're a bit of a ways from home; aren't you?"

"Don't need a baby-sitter."Dee Dee snapped.

"Didn't say you did."Rick responded. "Just noted this wasn't your usual neck of the woods."

"Can't a girl have a change of pace?"McCall asked as she took another sip.

"Sure if that's all it is."Hunter replied.

They lapsed into silence and Rick sighed inwardly. Dee Dee wasn't going to make this easy. He saw what had prompted Damon to call his partner was clearly bothered by something. Something that had dragged her from a warm bed to a bar downtown on a week night. Damon started towards them but Rick shook his head halting the bartender's approach. The younger man nodded and continued to clean up in preparation for closing.

"Whatever's eating at you isn't going to go away by itself."Rick prompted quietly.

"Unlike you."Dee Dee muttered. "You're not going away are you?"

"Nope, you're stuck with me it's in the partner rule book."Rick replied with a brief smile

After several minutes McCall sighed and pushed her drink away. She rubbed a hand over her forehead.

"I had a bad dream; couldn't shake it so ended up here."Dee Dee explained.

"What was it about?"Rick asked.

"Ruffy."McCall said quietly. "We never found her in Mexico; never got her back."

For a ten year old Theresa 'Ruffy' Collier had already been through hell. Multiple foster homes plus a surrogate uncle who'd fallen to his death from a three story building after getting mixed up with drug runners. To top that off she was kidnapped and held at gun point after most likely watching another surrogate uncle get beaten for trying to protect her.

"Ruffy's safe and with her new foster family."Rick stated softly. "We're scheduled to visit her in a couple weeks."

"I know."McCall stated. "Just in my dream just seemed so real. That we'd failed her and she was still out there scared somewhere."

"You're the reason she's safe."Hunter continued. "She's got a good chance at a future now."

"We both worked the case, Hunter."Dee Dee corrected.

"I was the one who didn't want to work a case about a bunch of birds, remember?"Rick prompted hiding a smile. "You thought there might be something more to it."

McCall nodded.

"Dream also got me thinking."Dee Dee began turning to meet her partner's gaze. "Steven and I did talk about having kids. We were still practically kids ourselves…."

"You told me you'd never thought about having kids."Hunter responded.

Dee Dee sighed.

"Steve and I did talk about it."McCall said quietly. "At the time I didn't see how a family could work with us both being police officers. I knew it could be done but I guess I wasn't ready so it got tabled for a later discussion and life got in the way. So I guess I did think about it briefly."

"You were good with Ruffy."Hunter complimented

"So were you."Dee Dee replied with a smile.

"Nah, just followin' your lead."Hunter groused.

"Don't sell yourself short, Hunter."Dee Dee said with a smile. "You've got father material written all over you."

Rick grinned at the teasing a good sign that his partner was back to her old self.

"See if you say that after our visit with Ruffy."Rick countered.

"I'll take that bet."Dee Dee commented.

"It's almost three."Rick stated glancing at his watch with a yawn. "Come on, I'll take you home and we'll get your car tomorrow er today."

McCall slid off the stool placing cash on the bar next to her glass to cover the bill. She put on her jacket and walked quietly with Rick outside. Before leaving Rick turned back and gave Damon a nod of thanks.

Half hour later they were parked in McCall's driveway. Dee Dee slowly got out of Hunter's car and shut the passenger door. Rick got out and started to follow her up the sidewalk.

"I'm really okay, Hunter. You don't have to walk me to the door."McCall commented as she took out her keys.

"Humor me."Rick replied earning a sigh from McCall.

"I guess I should thank you for being my sounding board."Dee Dee commented as she unlocked her front door. "It did help me shake the dream; think I can sleep now."

"Good."Rick replied with a smile. "Just call me next time might save us both some lost sleep."

"Deal."McCall said returning his smile. "I'll buy coffee later."

"Works for me."Hunter said with a yawn as he turned to leave. "We'll need it."

"Hunter."Dee Dee called after Rick was halfway down the sidewalk.

"Yeah?"Rick asked turning.

"You really were good with Ruffy."Dee Dee said with a grin.

"I'll see you in four and a half hours, McCall."Rick responded as he got to his car. "Good night."

"You mean good morning."Dee Dee corrected as she stepped inside and shut the door.

Rick knew it was going to be a very long day on little sleep. Nothing either one of them hadn't done before. He backed out of McCall's driveway and onto the street putting the car into drive and headed for home. A long day was worth it to know his partner was okay.