Summery: It stated with the little things--something he said, something he did--until suddenly one day it was all I could do to not realize just what he meant to me. And that's when things turned bad.

Pairing: Munch/Fin

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Slight spoilers for the end of "Raw," and Fin ended up being somewhat OOC in turns of being more emotional than we've seen him. Sorry.

Disclaimer: I do not own SVU or the characters. If I did, Elliot wouldn't be such an idiot, Munchkins would be coupled with someone, and Alex would still be around. And the M.E. Munch used to flirt with would show up more often, too, just for entertainment's sake.

Author's Note: Updated. Fixed the place that has Munch's favorite drink: thank you very much Animaltalker for correcting me, sorry it took me so long to get around to it. +sweatdrops+ Also a couple other minor, minor changes, nothing to alter the story.


Finding You

I had once told Olivia that punks who insult others based on the color of their skin didn't bother me any more: I'd heard it so many times, I learned to ignore it. People are so mixed up these days, it's hard to find someone whose heritage is pure, anyways. Still, something about this case got to me, just a little. I don't know why. Maybe it was out of disgust at how twisted these people--these RAW supporters--were: they dragged innocent kids into their twisted reality, brainwashing them before they were even old enough to form their own opinions. Maybe it wasn't the situation anymore; maybe I had just gotten tired of it all. Of course, there was a third possibility, but I had tried not to think of that one too much. Lot a good that did me today.

When I heard the kid had gone gun-crazy in court my first thought was of pity. When I heard Munch had been shot, my brain shut down. My breath hitched and Cragen must have noticed how out of it I looked because he stopped talking for a moment, trying to get my attention. I knew he was worried, knew I shouldn't panic, knew I had to keep my cool before feelings I wouldn't even admit to showed through...but I couldn't help it. I hadn't listened long enough to hear if it was fatal or not. If Munch--the cynical, sarcastic, hypochondriac, obsessed-with-conspiracy -theories hard-ass--was seriously wounded--

Cragen managed to break through my thoughts then, or else my mind had torn itself away from the ugly image that was forming. I shook my head, trying to clear it, trying to focus on the man in front of me. His voice was clear, now, my hearing coming back to me in a rush. It was almost too loud. I hadn't realized how afraid I was at the thought of loosing him.

"Hey, are you alright?" Cragen asked me--probably not for the first time--with concern evident in his tone and visage. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind, back to where the other reason sat, the one that whispered seductively the truth as to why I was so rattled by this otherwise normal, if extreme, case.

"Yeah, I'm fine, Cap't. Is Munch going to be alright?" I tried to press on, as if I hadn't blacked out for a few minutes there.

"Yeah..." he answered me slowly, as if not believing me. "The docs think he'll pull through."

"Can I go visit him?" He told me to wait another hour or so, until the doctors could give an affirmative on his health. I wasn't about to sit around and wait, but Cragen made me stay: he didn't seem to trust me to leave his sight at the moment. When we finally got the call--damn, it seemed like hours not the 45 minutes it was really--I nearly ran from the squad room, almost knocking down five people in my rush to get out of the station house. On the drive over I was thanking whatever god I could think of that Munch was going to be alright. At one intersection, I was so wrapped up in thought I nearly missed seeing a special little place my partner liked to grab food from. When I did see it--by chance of glancing over--a smile slowly crossed my lips; I made a quick detour. I didn't show my emotions often, let alone get many people things, but I figured I could make a small exception for John.

With the shake securely hidden in my pocket I made my way to Munch's room. A woman was coming out of it as I entered--I recognized her as the undercover FBI agent. She tried to apologize to me, but I had already heard the story from Cragen. I stopped her mid-sentence and held out my hand for her to shake. Truth be told, I just wanted to talk to Munch at the moment. Telling her we were good, I heard her footsteps recede from the room and sat down on my partner's hospital bed.

"So where was it you got shot again?" I ask with a teasing smile; ever Munch-like, he comes back with a sharp retort.

"That would be in the ass. You want to kiss it and make it feel better?" I chuckle lightly, but something in that offer seemed appealing to me. I pressed on, attempting to ignore the image that my mind felt the need to create. Why is it one's subconscioys always makes more of a simple statement or gesture than the bestorer originally intended, and always at the worst times?

"You be nice to me or you won't get the shake I smuggled in for you." I say as I pull out a brown paper bag from within my coat and hand it to him.

"Fig? From McGinty's?" He asked, surprised.

"Of course." A small smile tugs at the edges of my lips; as if I would forget his favorite drink. He blinks, seemingly shocked by the gesture.

"Wow, thanks, man." His voice conveys the surprise, yet it sounds pleasently so, and with graditude. I feel my heart skip a beat. He looked so fragile, lying before me with his face bare of his favorite tinted glasses, his body covered only by the thin hospital gown and a blanket. He looks innocent somehow, too, so unlike the snarky man I work with everyday. A part of me feels the need to protect him; words pass my lips before I can even stop to analyze them.

"Thank you for not having to make me break in another partner," I say sincerely with just the slightly hint of teasing. After a pause I forge ahead, more words coming from me that I didn't expect to tell him but that I mean all the same.

"I'm glad you pulled through, bro." I'm more than glad, really: I'm relieved, ecstatic even. But my control over my tongue comes back and I just nod my head a couple of times. He smiles at me, and I feel another emotion stir inside me. It occurs to me I might need to see a shrink if my thoughts keep going places they rarely do, but then he makes some snarky comment and we quickly fall back into our usual banter. I stay there in the room with him for awhile, sitting on the bed by his legs, taking about random things. When the nurse comes to tell me visiting hours are over I'm reluctant to leave. He tells me to go, that he's not going to die overnight from a mere bullet to the ass; the nurse blushes slightly at his words. She seems young, a pretty new face to the hospital, probably. For some reason I still felt reluctant to go, but I turned to leave all the same. At the door I stop, turning back to look at him for a moment. He looks back, stubborn eyes playfully daring me to run back to his side and refuse to leave.

Something comes to me to say and I almost do--it dances on the tip of my tongue--before I think better of it and quickly shallow the words.

"Just see to it that boney ass of yours is still here in the morning: we got a lot of paperwork to do yet," I say to him instead.

"Joy, I can't wait. Now go homeand let an old man get some sleep," he retorts with a dry tone. As I turn, I catch him smile out of the corner of my eyes and realize I've made yet another reference to his behind. Another tally he can make on how many times I've commented on his ass. As I leave the hospital I reflect that it is certainly not a bad behind; rather sexy, actually. My hand stills on the car's door handle as I realize what I just thought. Oh lord, I really should talk to someone. First I'm getting emotional over John, then I start complimenting his ass, and when did I start using his first name in conjunction with this kind of thing?! I shake my head. It's just been a long day, I rationalize, I just need some sleep.

Except, sleep doesn't come. For hours I lie awake in bed, thinking about my partner. It doesn't help that this isn't the first time I've done this, either, and now everything I've tried pushing to the back of my mind seems to rush forth. I stare at the ceiling in a daze until finally either sleep took me or exhaustion did. When I awake the next morning, it's to sheets that seem too tight and a feeling of panic. I sit up in bed and cradle my forehead in my hands. When was the last time I had a nightmare about John? And why tonight, when he is perfectly alright? I feel like my mind is trying to drive me crazy, but I know it's not just that. There is something I don't want to face, something about myself I don't want to admit, but my mind isn't going to let me ignore it anymore.

How can falling in love with someone hurt so much?


A/N: Whew, first chapter of an SVU fanfic done! Please review on whether you thought it was good, bad, if I need to learn how to keep characters in character, if you think I rushed it too much...+Raises hand for that option.+ Constructive criticism is always welcome!