Summary: Injuries always lead to revelations.
Disclaimer: If I owned the characters and the plot and the writing (etc.) do you seriously think I'd be putting this here? I could be satisfying so many people by writing this in the script. Sadly, however, I do not own any of the characters or situations of Numb3rs fame.
Author's Note: My first Numb3rs. Let me know how I do, especially if you think the characters are out of character or anything like that.
He held her close now, watching a mindless sitcom. It was meant to keep her mind off of what had happened, how they'd both thought they'd been screw ups
She had a sore throat and bruised ribs in addition to a sprained ankle all in the name of their job. Don Eppes of the FBI blamed himself for his partner's injuries. His partner, blamed herself.
She'd followed the team into the apartment. She wasn't even supposed to be there. To complain of an illness in Terry Lake's book meant it was close to fatal – or in this case, as close to fatal as a headache could be. Don had made her promise not to push herself but she had still wormed her way to the back of the invasion. It was only to apprehend a suspect, that's all. It was routine.
Routine gone wrong.
She'd gone in last. In theory, she wasn't of any use to the invasion at all. He'd come down a back staircase – most likely from visiting a friend on a higher floor – and seen the FBI. The next thing Terry knew, she was grabbed around the neck and slammed into the corner of the wall. His hand on her throat forced the air out of her lungs as she gasped for the live-giving element encased in its invisible matter.
David had come out first and refrained from yelling to the rest of the team. If there was one thing David knew, it was Don and he'd more than noticed his painstaking effort to repair his romantic relationship with the only female of their team. Don was liable to jeopardize more than help.
Terry had frozen. In hindsight, she knew it was the worst thing she could have done and would berate herself for hours afterwards. She could do nothing but go along with the man who was now dragging her out of the apartment door, her gun held to her head since he'd withdrawn it from its holster.
Luckily for all, he'd made a mistake. Backing down the stairs still proved to be a downfall. It was a simple trip, while he was trying to drag her down the stairs. He'd been focused on his own steps, so much so that when hers faltered, he wasn't prepared to catch them. They'd tumbled down the stairs in a whirl of limbs – resulting in her sprained ankle from her awkward landing – and Terry had managed to luck out and land on top of the suspect.
The rest of the agents had been on him in a flash as David helped her stand. Originally, being the headstrong stubborn woman she was, Terry had tried to stand on her own. However, her ankle quickly gave out and she went to fall again. David caught her, supporting as much weight as she would shift off of the foot. That was when Don had shown up at the top of the stairs.
"Terry?" She probably looked slightly beaten, and she wouldn't have been surprised if she'd managed to collect a good sized bruise on her forehead. If she was lucky, it hadn't broken the skin. David supported her on one side and her arm held her side protectively.
"What the hell happened?" he'd asked. It was stating the obvious to say he was ticked off. Terry would have bet her lifetime's savings around the mark of livid.
"Don, it's my fault…" Terry started.
"We need to get you checked out," he said. Terry rolled her eyes as her weight was shifted from David to Don.
"Minor injuries, Don." Characteristically, he hadn't listened. He helped her down the stairs and into a van.End Flashback
Now he held on to her like a lifeline. The sitcom was mind-numbing and blissfully so. Terry didn't want to think about what had transpired and the TV and Don's arms around her were important contributions to her distraction.
Suddenly, those strong arms that were her safety blanket tightened around her. She looked up at him from where her head rested above his heart.
"What?" Her voice was still raspy, and it was the first time either of them had spoken. He didn't say anything.
"I just… God, Terr…"
"Hey," she said, removing her arms from around his waist and placing them on his cheeks, forcing him to face her, "I'm here, I'm alive, just bruised and battered. I'll be fine in a few days."
"Terry, he held a gun to your head…" Again he trailed off. This time, Terry did roll her eyes.
"This wasn't the first time. We put our lives on the line every day, Don, every time we prepare to go out when we arrest a suspect or invade a home." She spoke softly, but matter-of-factly, as if she was explaining a simple rule to a small child. As she spoke, she made sure his eyes were focused on hers.
"I've never been in this situation before, Terr. I've never had someone I…" He'd pushed away when he'd started and she'd made herself comfortable for a Don Eppes rant. However, both tensed slightly when he trailed off.
"That you what, Don?" Terry knew they'd been flirting more than usual and it had become more of a serious thing, but she didn't dare dream. She'd found herself constantly considering rekindling their romance from the academy. This, it seemed, was to be the culmination.
"You what?" He let out a sigh.
"That I loved." Even as she'd let herself dream, she'd never prepared for the moment he actually admitted he was still in love with her. After all, they'd both had previous engagements and had believed the other had moved on. It wasn't that she didn't believe him, either. She'd been hoping for this moment, she realized, since they were partnered together again. She leaned her head back against his couch with a smile.
"You love me." Don crouched down in front of her, his hands resting on her knees.
"I didn't want to spring it on you, Terry, and I know you probably don't feel the same anymore…"
"Don," she interrupted, "for and FBI agent, you really are blind." She leaned forward and sealed her mouth to his. His response was immediate and enthusiastic. Terry broke the kiss when her lungs protested the lack of oxygen.
"Blind?" Terry giggled, holding her side as she did so. He sat up on the couch again, pulling her snugly against him.
"Yes, blind," she returned, snuggling back to her previous position. She could hear his elevated heartbeat in his chest and it gave her comfort. They sat silently for a few moments, content to enjoy each other and their changing relationship. Don could feel Terry's breathing start to even out as he stroked her hair.
"I think it's time for bed," he whispered softly. She shifted against him.
"Can't move," she murmured back, voice slightly sleep clogged. "Can't we stay here?"
"This'll ruin us both, Terr. Come on, I'll carry you." She moved away slowly, sleepily bemoaning the loss of contact. Don chuckled again as he carefully shifted her into his arms. She curled against him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Don't get used to this, Lake," he warned her as he gently deposited her on his bed. The hospital had asked that she be released into someone's care to be sure she taped her ribs properly and stayed away from strenuous activity. Don had been the first to volunteer.
"Get used to what?" she asked, shifting to get under the covers.
"This knight in shining armour," he responded, stripped down to his t-shirt and boxers.
"Yeah, well, I won't always be a damsel in distress," she shot back, still teasing him even half asleep. He smiled and let out a sigh of content as he cradled her against his body. Terry Lake was wearing and old t-shirt of his and was curled up against him in his bed after mutual declarations of love. There was no way this could get any better.
"Goodnight, Terry," he whispered into her hair
"Mm… Night. Love you."
"Love you, too."