Requested by rittenden.

characters- Don
setting- medical clinic
situation- Don is working undercover
mood- anxious
reference (this is the word)- doubt
required- must be Don POV; no dialogue

This is it, Eppes – game over. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. No more lives left because you've used them all up.

I sigh inwardly as I tug at the bindings on my wrists. Imagine that, they still won't give. I try kicking my feet loose, too, but they are still tightly strapped to the exam table. Calling for help is out of the question with this enormous wad of gauze shoved into my mouth and kept in place by no less than six layers of gauze.

I turn my head and locate the clock on the wall – six-thirty in the evening. It's thirty minutes after closing time and I know I'm supposed to be checking in with Megan any second now. Obviously, that's not going to happen, and I pray that she's in a cautious mood tonight, so she'll decide to send the calvary barging in and get me out of this mess.

And a fine mess it is, Eppes.

Enough already! Man, those voices in your head can be a pain. Okay, so this isn't the best undercover op I've ever been involved in. I might have been just a tad careless, but come on – the doctor was above suspicion. How was I supposed to know that he was the ringleader?

It had all seemed so simple. There was a major drug trafficking gang operating in southern California, and after months of work by an LAPD task force, they'd asked the 'big boys' – their words, not mine – to come in and assist. Their idea of assist was for us to run an undercover sting and try to catch the key players in the operation, or at least nab a few minor players in the hopes they'd turn states evidence.

Turns out, LAPD knew that there was a certain medical clinic that several suspects had worked at or frequented, and it was strongly suspected that the key ingredients for the drug synthesis were coming from said clinic. So the plan was to get some undercover agents in there to try and flush these guys out. It's been forever since I'd done any undercover, but apparently it was decided that I could play the 'middle-aged, washed out, run down, possible junkie' role better than anybody else on my team. Yeah, I'm definitely having a talk with them about that later, assuming I make it out of here alive...

Anyway, the clinic was hiring a nurse, so Megan got tapped for that. Aced the interview and was placed in the job while I was still filling out my application and scheduling my 'pee in a cup' time. By the time I got in my position, she had already profiled potential suspects and whittled our list down to two individuals – an orderly and regular patient that came in everyday for 'allergy' problems. I trust her judgment completely, so I kind of developed tunnel vision on those two people. Turns out she was right, but right with a twist, which is why I'm lying here, hands and feet bound, and strapped down on an exam table.

I glance at the clock again – six thirty-seven. Okay Megan, any day now... These men aren't going to leave me alone much longer. As panic starts to creep in, I valiantly, but vainly, give my bonds another tug.

I slam my head against the cushioned headrest in frustration and look toward the door. I can see the light from the hallway coming through the crack at the bottom, and I anxiously look for any sign of a shadow approaching or walking down the hallway. Thank goodness they seem to be too busy with closing up shop. Personally, I'd have dealt with the witness first, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

And yes, I said men earlier. Men as in two. Turns out the orderly was involved, which should have put me on high alert. I mean, how would an orderly have access to and steal that many drug supplies without anyone raising an eyebrow? Why, if he had a doctor working with him, that's how. Turns out good ol' trustworthy, well respected in the community, Doctor Carlson is a major player in this drug gang. I know Megan didn't red flag him at all, but still – I should have suspected.

I didn't, though, and here I am as a result. I'd been watching the orderly, Michael Jones, all day. I'd seen him make a couple of unnecessary and undocumented trips to the drug room and snapped a few pictures. Everything was going well until I had discreetly gone behind him and checked his drugs of choice. All of them were on the list needed to synthesize some nasty street drugs, and I'd been ready to call Megan in. I mean, I could still see Jones through the glass panel where he leaned against the wall in the hallway. What I didn't see, was Carlson sneaking up behind me with a syringe. I sure as hell felt it though, when that needle slid into my neck and the cool liquid inside invaded my veins. I'd dropped like a stone, out cold...

...And woke up strapped down to a table. I have to figure they found the camera and suspect that I'm not just some nosy orderly, which is all the more reason Megan needs to hurry up.

Six forty-two. Dammit Megan, you do realize that I haven't checked in, right?

Another tug at my bonds, and sudden burning sensation tells me I've finally chafed my wrists to the point that they're bleeding. Still, bloody wrists are preferable to an eternal sleep any day in my book.

Six forty-three.

I know she's a competent agent – hell, she was my choice for second in command – but I am seriously starting to wonder what's going on. I'm thirteen minutes passed my check in time, and she should be beating down the door and looking for me. Instead, all I hear is a few murmurs from my captors, as they undoubtedly discuss the best way to eliminate a witness. The morbid side of my mind is running through the possible list of ways, too, and coming up with several unpleasant thoughts that involve a variety of drugs and equipment in the clinic.

Six forty-seven.

I feel the panic rise and I'm almost certain that I'm not going to be able to hold it back any longer. I look around the room for anything that could be of use, but come up empty. I have a sudden urge to pull against my restraints until either they or my shoulders give, but I manage to exercise a modicum of control.

Six fifty-two.

I hear footsteps in the hallway and fearfully glance at the sliver of light coming from the hall. I see shadows dance through the light as someone stands in front of the door. There is a moment of excruciating silence before the knob slowly starts to turn.

Six fifty-three.

Come on, Megan. Now would be a good time.

Six fifty-three and fifteen seconds.

The door slowly creaks open and my whole body tenses as I wait for my captors to descend on me and finish me off.

Six fifty-three and thirty seconds.

A silhouette appears in the back lighting of the door way, and I immediately realize that it's too small to be either Jones or Carlson. Not to mention, it has a distinctly feminine shape. It comes closer and I am able to make out Megan's features, worried and relieved at the same time.

I nod silently, assuring her that I'm okay, and that I had known she would come in time.

I never really had a doubt.

The End