Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Ah-ha! I finally remembered to put it!! Now on with the show.
The air was thick and moist from the crowds of people in the bar. As soon as Zoe stepped through the door her noise was assaulted with the unpleasant mixture of sweat, vomit, and alcohol – granted the last one normally didn't bother her, but in this case it wasn't helping much. She waited a minute for her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting of the tavern and then began her search of the room. She walked slowly, her eyes carefully scanning every corner of the place. After a couple of minutes of searching her eyes finally rested on her very handsome, and now very drunk, partner.
Dan was slumped against the bar, his arms folded on the counter and his head resting on top of them to avoid the sticky surface. Originally, Zoe was pissed off that she had received this call at 11:30 on Friday night; after everything else she had to deal with tonight with the kids, now she had to cart Dan's drunken carcass home. But as she stood there, gazing at his sad form, she found her resolve weakening. There was something about him. She just couldn't stay mad at him -- not even when he was only semi-conscious. So as she advanced towards the bar, the angry clicking of her heals softened and her irritated expression gave way to a sympathetic one. She hopped up onto the stool to his left, the direction which he was facing, but he didn't see her because his eyes were closed.
Gently, Zoe reached out her hand and swept his bangs away from his clammy forehead. She then ran her hand through the rest of his hair, enjoying the soft sensation as she lost her fingers at the base of his neck. "Dan," she cooed softly, "Hey sailor, wake up. It's time to go home." He mumbled slightly and opened his eyes. Once his eyes had focused and saw Zoe perched beside him he raised his head groggily. Her hand fell from the back of his head and she let it fall to his back and brought it to his shoulder. "Come on. Let's go," She hopped off her stool and trailed her hand down his arm to his elbow and squeezed it slightly. He slid his feet to the ground and slowly stood up, using the counter for balance. Once he was steady he tried to walk towards the exit but fumbled forward with a slight groan. Luckily Zoe had anticipated this and swooped in before he fell. She ducked under his arm, placing her shoulder under his arm pit and put one hand on his stomach (making a mental note at how surprisingly firm it was) and her other on his upper back to steady him. If nothing else, her years in Vegas had taught her how to deal with intoxicated people. Dan let go of the bar and shifted towards Zoe, with one arm draped around her shoulder and the other hand clutching his forehead in a vain attempt to banish the dull thud that appeared when he stood up. With the majority of his weight resting on Zoe, the two were able to start walking towards the exit.
"So what were you doing here?" Zoe asked softly as they swayed.
"Drinking," he stated solemnly.
"Yes, I can see that," Zoe smiled faintly, "I meant why. Why are you drinking?"
"To get drunk," Dan replied simply. Zoe chuckled and dropped the topic.
As they neared the door, one of the bouncers jogged ahead of them to hold it open for them. "Thanks," she grunted as she passed through them to the parking lot. A blast of the cold night air hit them both in the face as the walked through the parking lot towards his car, causing Dan to rouse a little more. His hand rubbed his face roughly trying to clear his head.
"Sorry Zoe," he apologized sadly as they approached his car.
"I know, Dan. Don't worry… you can make it up to me with a week's worth of my paper work," she teased as she pushed his back up against the passenger side of the car gently and pinned him there with one hand while she took a step back to face him. "Dan, where are your keys?"
"Here…" he reached into his jacket pocket and producing the coveted items. He placed them into Zoe's expectant hand. Zoe ignored the rush that she felt when their hands briefly connected and turned her attention to the car door. She tried a couple of keys before she found the correct one and opened up the passenger door. She left the keys dangling in the lock as she returned her attention to the man beside her.
"C'mon. In we go," she instructed as she shifted her position to guide him into his car. She expertly helped him into a sitting position and leaned in to do up his seatbelt. As she bent forward he asked about her own car. "I took a taxi here; I didn't want to leave your car here overnight… I knew you'd have driven your car here because we're much too far away from your apartment and I knew you wouldn't want to pay for a taxi," she explained as she pulled the belt around his body and secured it in place. She glanced at his face, which she was floating only a few inches from, and found him staring at her intently. She quickly stepped back from the car and placed his hands in his lap and padded his knees, "Watch yourself, I'm shutting the door." Once she was sure his limbs were free of the door she shut it and removed the keys from the lock. She strolled over to the driver's side and climbed in.
As the engine roared to life a soft country song filled the car. She smiled softly and glanced over at her partner who was leaning against the cool passenger window with his eyes closed. With a sigh, she pulled out of the parking lot and began the long journey to Dan's apartment, slightly wondering why he ended up so many miles from home… there was a bar just around the corner from his complex.