Instead of turning at Pine and going to his apartment, Matt turned on Jasper, and headed to his partner's house, which incidentally is where he'd come from that morning. But this time he wasn't going for one of their little rendezvous, which they'd been keeping hidden from their boss and colleagues for over two months. He could only imagine Cheryl's wrath if she ever found out.

Tonight he was on his way to the increasingly familiar little apartment building to check on his sick partner. Emily had seemed fine the night before, tired maybe, but not so much so that he didn't wake up in her bed this morning. Of course when he had woken up, she was covering her head with the blankets because the light hurt her eyes, and when she did come out, it was only to tear off to the bathroom and vomit. When she returned she swallowed a few aspirin and crawled back under the sheets, covering her head again. By the time he arrived at work she'd called Cheryl, and informed her she wouldn't be coming in. Matt had to fake surprise.

As it turned out, Cheryl wouldn't have noticed if he hadn't been surprised anyway. Emily was the seventh person to call in this morning; that was about a quarter of the people in the office. The number of people calling out had steadily been increasing over the last few days, and Cheryl was beginning to get nervous. It was the flu; over and over again, people called telling her they had the flu, and Cheryl was going nuts. It wasn't considered and epidemic yet, but it was getting close. Needless to say Cheryl had called an impromptu meeting of all the CNU and HRT agents, and the Intelligence Analysts that worked with the department, and grudgingly lectured them on proper hygiene. Half of them had fallen asleep. Matt was, shockingly, not one of them, though to Cheryl he did seem a bit distracted.

That it was the flu didn't really ease Matt's worry over Emily at all, after all, it was common knowledge that the flu can get really bad. That was why that morning, knowing Emily wouldn't be leaving her apartment, Matt had taken her keys with him that morning, so he could get back in and check on her. He realized that this was more the behavior of a boyfriend than a casual lay, but chose to ignore that as he twisted her key in the lock. He dropped the keys back in the basket that rest on the small table by the door, and walked back to her bedroom.

She was exactly where she'd been that morning, though the covers were no longer drawn over her head. Instead the blinds were closed and the lights were off. The bottle of aspirin sat on her night table, along with her cell phone, which he'd called a few times to check on her, and a glass of water that was nearly full. Either she hadn't been drinking like she should have, or she'd been awake not long before he came in.

Matt walked over to the side of the bed and knelt down by her face, brushing her hair back, so he could actually see her. His fingertips only brushed her forehead, but the heat he felt brought him to attention. He laid the back of his hand against her brow, feeling the heat emanating from it. He wasn't doctor, but that felt like a pretty high fever. Leaving her side for a moment, he went into her bathroom, fishing through more beauty, bath and health products than he could ever imagine having, until finally coming out victorious, thermometer in hand.

He again knelt by her head, and shook her very gently awake. "Hey Em."

"Matt? What are you doing here?" she said, groggily, raising her head only slightly.

"You were pretty sick this morning, I took your keys so I could check on you after work."

Emily nodded, barely registering what he was saying. If she'd been aware, she'd have had much more to say to that.

"You've got a fever, we need to take your temperature," he told her waving the thermometer in front of her.

She gave him an annoyed look, "If you know I have a fever, why do you need to stick that thing in my mouth?"

"To see how high it is," he told her patiently, marveling at how she could argue when she was barely lucid.

But it became clear again that she was sick, when she dropped the argument and opened her mouth.

So Matt wasted no time, pressing the little button, and sticking it under tongue. Seemingly exhausted by the conversation, Emily resisted her head back on the bed.

"Work was so boring today without you. All I had to do was paperwork, I almost went crazy," he told her while they waited for the telltale beeping to signify that the thermometer was done.

"Temple and Binder got a real beauty of a crisis today. A Korean guy downtown caught some gangbanger kid trying to steal some of the CDs from his shop. The guy whipped out this giant shotgun he keeps under the counter and turns it on the kid, who immediately pulls the CDs out of his pants. But, he doesn't take the gun off the kid, just shouts at him in a mix of English and Korean. So the cops get there, he still won't put it down, then Temple and Binder get there and have to convince this guy that the kid will get punished. Just picture Temple scrambling around trying to figure out what to say, while Binder flips through a Korean to English pocket dictionary, trying to figure out some of the phrases the guy is using. Cheryl came back into the office still laughing." He relayed the story, hoping to distract her from how crappy she was feeling, until he heard beeps.

"103.4," he read, "that's too high, you're going to have to get in a cold shower."

"No way in hell," she mumbled, shrinking under the covers.

"Em, that's too high, if it gets any higher I might have to take you to the emergency room," he warned her.

Her only acknowledgement was to slide further under he covers.

"Alright, what if I get it with you, we'll suffer together?" he suggested.

She shook her head.

"Okay, then I'm just going to have to carry you into the bathroom," he said, scooping her up before she had a chance to move away.

"Put me down right now Flannery," she demanded weakly.

"Sorry, not until we get to the bathroom," he said just as they crossed the threshold. He could already feel her shivering in his arms.

"We're in, now put me down."

"Fine, but I'm keeping a grip on you. I don't trust you," he told her, gently setting her down, but keeping an arm around her as he turned on the faucet, closing the curtain against the blast.

Emily just stood beside him dejectedly, her glance falling longingly toward her bedroom and warm bed.

Matt began tugging at the t-shirt she was wearing, which as it turned out was the only thing she was wearing. He opened the curtain for her, but she shook her head.

"Un uh, you're getting in there with me," she told him, reminding him of his earlier promise.

"Fair enough," he said, stripping down, and following her in.

"Jesus this is cold," he muttered.

Emily just gave him a sideways look, and pressed against him, trying to shield herself from the spray. They stayed in for only a few minutes, before he shut off the water, and grabbed towels for both of them, leaving their clothing in the bathroom.

Emily immediately got into the bed, and scurried under the warm covers.

"Not so fast, take some more aspirin and drink a little water before you go to sleep again."

"Yes mom," she commented sarcastically while retrieving two aspirin from the bottle on the nightstand, and swallowing them down with water.

"Have you eaten anything today?"

"No, wasn't hungry, and I couldn't keep anything down if I was."

"Well you haven't thrown up since I've been back, so how about I make some soup and we see if you can keep that down?"

Emily just shrugged noncommittally, all she wanted to do was sleep.

Matt nodded, and pulled the covers over her, before heading off to the bathroom to retrieve his clothes, and then the kitchen to see if she even had soup he could make. Of course, women generally stock their kitchens much better than men, and Emily did in fact have a few cans. He chose chicken noodle, the kind people were constantly plugging as the cure-all in a can. He dumped it into a pot, and let it heat for several minutes, before pouring a small amount into a bowl.

Emily was nearly asleep when he went back into the room, and she wasn't entirely pleased to be woken.

"Just eat a little bit, and I promise I'll let you sleep. No more thermometers or cold showers," he promised her.

Grudgingly she sat up, and took the bowl, easing a soupful into her mouth. After a few more, she left the soup in the bowl, yawned tiredly, and looked at Matt, as if to ask if he was going to nag her more.

He raised his hands in defeat, before grabbing the bowl, and letting her sink under the covers. Matt ate the left over soup in the pot as his own dinner, but cleaning up, and heading back into the bedroom. One last time, he knelt down beside her, and felt her forehead; it was still warm, but not as much as it was before. Yawning and stretching, he crawled in beside her, and wrapped an arm around her waist. If whatever she had was contagious then he was certainly already infected, so it didn't matter.

The next morning, Matt got up early so he could go back to his apartment to shower and change. First though, he forced the thermometer into Emily's mouth again, ignoring her glare at being woken up.

103.2, it was nearly up to where it had been yesterday. Letting her rest again, Matt went into the kitchen and filled a bowl with water and ice, before grabbing a washcloth from the bathroom, and soaking it. Wringing it out, he laid it on Emily's forehead, surprising her as she tried to fall asleep again.

"What the hell?" she grumbled groggily.

"Cold washcloth; your fever is back up. I have to go to work, so you'll have to keep dipping this in the cold water and reapplying it to keep your fever down, and drink more water," he told her, pointing toward the fresh glass he'd laid out.

Emily gave a weak nod, before snuggling back into the pillow. Matt watched her with concern.

"Hey, are you going to be okay alone?"

"Yeah, fine," she mumbled, feeling for his hand and giving it a light squeeze.

"Alright, I'm going call you every so often." He kissed her head, and walked out the door, knowing he was showing way too much concern for how casual their relationship supposedly was.


When Matt got to work, Cheryl was pacing in her office, alternately talking on her cell, and stopping long enough to have short conversations on her office phone. Whatever was going could not be good, came Matt's first thought as he watched her. After a moment both phones seemed be down for good, though she still paced, something obviously nagging at her. Matt approached her office, knocking only slightly before heading in.

"Hey, what going on?"

"Is Emily still sick?"

"Uh yeah, I called her this morning, she seemed pretty out of it," Matt told her, not entirely lying.

"Then she is number 13," Cheryl answered, noting something on the paper in front of her.

"Wait, are you saying 13 people called out today?"

"Yep, and my boss says the CNU is still too important to shut down and quarantine. He says if we surpass 18, I can shut the place down and call the health department."

"What about HRT?"

"Frank says he has ten guys out."

"So that leaves half the CNU, but that's only about a fifth of HRT right?"

"Yeah, Frank isn't terribly worried, but I'm running out of people," She commented bitterly. There were many fewer negotiators than anyone else, seeing as how there weren't that many crazies running around, thankfully.

"I guess we just hope that nobody feels the need to pick up a gun today," Matt shrugged.

"Right, I guess at least you have time to finish your paperwork," Cheryl grinned.

"Lucky me," Matt mumbled leaving the office, and dialing Emily's number once he got to his cubicle. He let it ring until the machine picked up, growing a little concerned, but figuring she was just asleep and didn't hear it.

But, by 11:30 Matt was worried. He been calling her all morning and she hadn't picked up. He tapped his pen on the case files he was working on as he mindlessly filled in the blanks on the standard report page. She'd looked terribly pale when he left her that morning, and had barely responded when they spoke, so he'd already been worried about her. Now he was barely keeping attention on the page in front of him.

An hour later when she still hadn't picked up, Matt used his lunch break to drive back over to her apartment, using the key that he'd again swiped from the basket. Tossing them back in, but missing, Matt ignored the loud clatter the key chain made as it fell to the floor. He strode to the back of the apartment, worrying causing him to be slightly clumsy, as he nearly fell over the small step between the floors.

"Em?" He called as he went into the bedroom, where she lay as she had that morning. He sighed with slight relief, as he once again approached her bedside and felt her forehead. It was much hotter than it had been when he left that morning.

"Damn," he cursed before he shook her gently, "Em, I have to take your temperature again."

She moaned, and weakly tried to swat his hands away.

"Come on Emily, you have to wake up now," he coaxed her.

Finally she turned toward him, barely lucid, "I ate the soup, you said I could sleep after I ate the soup," she accused.

"Yeah, you did sleep. That was last night, Em."

"No, I just ate it. Where's Matt?" She asked, looking at him for the first time.

"I am Matt," he told her growing more worried by the second.

"Funny James, where is he?"

Instead of answering Matt tossed the thermometer back in her mouth. How the hell high was her temp now? Did she really think he was her brother? It beeped after a few, what were to Matt, very long minutes.

"Oh shit, shit, shit. 104.4. Okay, Em, time to get you to the ER," he said, pulling her to sit up. Evidently at some point she'd put pajamas on, but still was still shivering with the sheets off. He pulled one of the blankets off the bed and wrapped it around her, her shivering not quite stopping, but quieting considerably. He helped her out of the bed, and wrapped an arm around her waist, bracing her.

He tried letting her walk for three steps, but she could barely stand, so he gave up and lifted her into his arms. Surprising him, she didn't protest, but let her head rest on his shoulder. Only enjoying her ease for a moment, Matt immediately became concerned about how weakened and docile she seemed.

Juggling her in one arm, he hit the elevator button, nearly dropping her. When the elevator finally came, one of Emily's neighbors got in after them. This neighbor was a seventy year-old woman that was the epitome of the bored, old, busy body that knew everything about everybody.

"Young man, what are you doing with Emily?" She asked giving him a disapproving look.

"She's very ill ma'am, I'm taking her to a hospital," Matt assured her.

"You best not be lying to me. If you hurt her, I know what you look like, I'll be sure to tell the proper authorities," she glared at him.

"I promise ma'am, I would never hurt her."

"You know she's a federal agent right? That means that they'll charge you federally, you'll never get out of prison," she warned him.

"Ma'am, I'm also a federal agent. In fact, I'm Emily's partner, and she's sick, so I have to get her to a hospital," he said pushing past the miserable old lady and through the opening doors.

Once he got her buckled into his Mustang, he took off with his lights blazing and sirens screaming. Sure, Cheryl may give him a hard time about using them later, but for now he didn't care. And, he managed to get through with few issues and pissed off drivers flipping him off, practically skidding into the hospital, he was going so fast. He parked on the street, and carefully pulled a very lethargic, and barely responsive Emily out of the car.

The second Matt walked in the door, a handful of people were on top of him with a gurney, shouting questions at him. He followed them down a hallway, and into a room, listening, a little lost, as the nurse began shouting Emily's stats at the interns and doctor. He didn't really know what normal was for most of the abbreviations she used, except temperature. And her temperature had gone up a bit during the ride. After only a few minutes, a nurse escorted him out, and told him he'd have to wait, suggesting he fill out the forms on her insurance and medical history. Matt nodded, but he really didn't know much of that, so he called Cheryl.


"Hey, it's Matt."

"Where have you been?" she asked, obviously not too pleased with his disappearance.

"I'm at the E.R. at Eastwood."

"What happened? Are you alright?" she demanded.

"I'm fine, Emily's not. She's got a high fever, and she's barely lucid." Matt ran a hand distractedly through his hair.

"I thought she just had the flu?"

"I don't know, but she's bad Cheryl- she thought I was her brother."

"Have the doctors told you anything yet?"

"No, I just got here. Their in with her now."

"Alright, call me when you know something," Cheryl instructed, choosing to overlook for the moment how Matt had known his partner needed help.

After hanging up Matt didn't have too much longer to wait until one of the doctors popped out of Emily's room.

"Can you help us out with her symptoms prior to this?" The young woman asked him, poised to start scribbling on the chart.

"Uh, first she was just sore and had a headache, then yesterday she woke up and threw up, and uh, had some issues with the light. She kept covering her head with the blanket, because the light bothered her. Then, I guess just the fever, this is the highest it's gotten." Matt rambled off, one hand running through his thick hair.

"Alright, well, for now we just want to get the fever down, and get her on an IV drip for the dehydration, that should help some. We'll go from there."

Matt nodded, distractedly looking toward the room.

"It should only take a few more minutes to get her set up, and then you can go sit with her. Okay?" She asked, trying to get his attention back to her.

"Yeah, thanks." She walked back into the room, as Matt sat down with the forms they'd thrust in his hands, and began to fill out what he could. Name, address, phone number, birth date, employer, insurance company, but he didn't know her policy number or who she'd want for an emergency contact. Any medications? She was on birth control, that he knew, but he had no idea what kind. And as for her medical history, he didn't have even the slightest clue. He told the nurse as much.

"That's alright, we'll ask her when she's lucid. Do you know her doctor?"

Matt shook his head, "Oh, uh, I also know she's on birth control, but I don't know what kind."

"Didn't you say that she's your partner?" The nurse asked, appearing amused by something.

"Uh, yeah, we're FBI."

"Yet, you know she's on birth control?" That was what was amusing her; she suspected something.

"Eh…" Matt had no idea what to say.

"Relax honey, I won't tell anybody," she winked at him, and walked away.

An hour later, he was sitting in a chair, watching a still very pale Emily sleep. He took her hand in both of his, studying her fingers, rubbing circles over it with his thumb.

"Hello Matt," the same young doctor greeted him warmly.

"Hi, do you know anything yet?"

"We think she has meningitis."

"What? I've heard about that, that can kill you," he said, growing upset.

"Not if we treat it, and only generally only of it's bacterial, this might be viral meningitis, it's much less dangerous. We're going to run a few tests to confirm, and determine which one."

Matt nodded in understanding, still looking unconvinced.

"Right now I want to do a lumbar puncture, can you give me a hand with that?"

"Uh, yeah, sure, what do you need me to do?"

"We need to get her on her side, and tuck her legs to her chest, can you do that for me?"

Matt nodded, and chose to ignore that the doctor was talking to him like he was some confused little eight year-old.

With the doctor, he gently turned Emily on her side, and brought her legs up to her chest, holding them under her knees.

"Okay, good, can you tuck her head down?" The doctor asked, as she readied an unpleasant looking needle.

Matt complied, looking uneasily at the needle, "You're going to stick that thing in her back?"

"Yeah, to get some of the fluid stored there, it will let us know if there is an infection in her brain." She explained, before seeing the alarmed looked that graced Matt's face when she said brain. "Do you know how meningitis works?"

"Right now, I'd bet money that it's an infection in the brain," he guessed.

"Yes, the spinal tap will let us know if there is actually one there, and we'll be able to tell if it's bacterium or a virus causing it."

"That sounds very dangerous, being in her brain?"

"It can be, but right now we don't know anything for sure," the doctor commented as she first injected a local anesthetic, gave it a minute to work, and then proceeded with the lumbar puncture.

She finished, and cleaning up her equipment, she let Matt easy Emily back to the bed.

"Ben, good you're here," she said turned to a nurse that had shown up. "Matt, Ben is going to take Emily to get an EEG, so we can see her brain. He won't be long."

After helping Ben ease Emily onto a gurney, Matt watched him take her away, and proceeded to wait for the next half-hour until he brought her back. Waiting is the only thing you ever seem to do in hospitals: waiting for a doctor to come and look at you, waiting for technicians to arrive to perform tests, waiting for the tests to come back, waiting for the doctors to look at the results, and waiting for them to make their way back to you to tell you. Always, always constant waiting, and the doctors never seemed to get that the waiting most more nerve-wracking, more painful, more soul-numbing than whatever news they could deliver.

So Matt waited with Emily again, holding her had, brushing the hair out of her face, and wondering at what point he'd begun to care so much about her. After their first time, it was truly just sex, but sometime in the last month and a half it changed, he began to see her differently. Their hotels trysts had been growing more frequent, their credit card bills would prove that, and they didn't just have sex and go. When they were together, they stayed that way for the night, pressed against each other, and completely comfortable that way. He knew this wasn't good, they were partners, and though it wasn't actually written out that it wasn't allowed, the FBI figured they didn't need to put something like that in writing. Not to mention that if Cheryl ever found out, she would kill them for ruing her best team, and giving her another headache.

"Matt?" The young doctor was back, chart in her hand, flipping through pages.

"Did you get the results back?" he asked, looking to his watch; he'd been waiting two hours.

"Yes, and it is meningitis, but it's only viral and her EEG was pretty clean, so after we get her fever down, and fluids back in her, she should be good to go home."

"You don't want to keep her awhile?" Matt asked incredulously.

"We'll keep her until we're comfortable that her fever won't spike again, but viral meningitis often doesn't get any worse than the flu, and you care for it the same way." She assured him.

Matt nodded, still a little uncomfortable, and then had a sudden thought, "Uh, is it contagious?"

"Yes, just like the flu. Have you spent a lot of time together the last few days?"

"Uh, yeah, we're uh, seeing each other…" He trailed off uncomfortably.

"You probably have it, in fact I'd like to do a spinal tap on you to see. Sometimes it takes a few days for symptoms to show, and others, like with Emily, it comes fast and furious."

"Uh, it's not really me I'm worried about, half of the people we work with are out sick."

"Call your boss, all those people should be seen by doctors, they need brain scans, and your department should be quarantined."

"She's going to love that," Matt sighed, imaging Cheryl's reaction.

"Sorry. I'll let you call her, while I get the equipment to give you a spinal tap," she told him, before walking out of the room.

Matt gave Emily's hand a little squeeze before heading in the hallway to call Cheryl.


"Hey Cheryl."

"Matt, good, I was starting to get worried."

"Emily has viral meningitis," he stated bluntly.

"That doesn't sound good, doesn't that attack the brain?"

"Yeah, and it's contagious." Cheryl was quiet for a moment before answering.

"Wait, wait, are you saying half the CNU is out with meningitis?"

"Uh, yeah. The doctor says you need to call everybody and tell them to get seen by a doctor, they need brain scans, and you have to call the health department to quarantine the CNU, and HRT actually." Matt repeated what the doctor told him.

"Matt, please tell me that you're kidding, that you're just trying to screw with my head," she pled.

"Sorry, Cheryl. The doctor says it doesn't get worse than the flu most of the time, but just to be safe, they need to come in."

"Alright, I better go then, and start making phone calls, I'll come by the hospital after work." She told him, hanging up, resigned to having to call a dozen people, her boss, and the health department, but first she'd send her remaining people home, and inform Frank, so he could take care of HRT.


Two hours later Cheryl found Emily's room, and was surprised to see Matt in the bed next to hers.

"Matt? Are you sick too?" She asked going over to him.

"The doctor said I probably am, so she did a spinal tap, hurt like hell. I'm not supposed to move for a while."

"Great…" Cheryl trailed off looking at a very pale Emily in the next bed. "How is she?"

"Okay, they want to get her fever down and give her fluids, but they said she should be fine."

"Good, you have the next several days off by the way, we are quarantined. I've got Temple and Binder on call though, just in case."

They fell into silence, both still staring blankly toward Emily.


"Yeah?" He turned to look at her.

"Not that I'm not glad that you were there to get her to a hospital, but what were you doing at Emily's apartment?"

"Uh, I tried calling her this morning, question about a case, she uh, didn't pick up," Matt wasn't looking at her anymore, instead his gaze had returned to his partner.

"So, you went over there?"

"I knew she was sick, I wanted to make sure she was okay."

"Matt…" Cheryl paused momentarily, she didn't feel too comfortable asking this question, "is there something going on between you two?"

"What?" he asked dumbly.

"Is there something more than friendship going on between you and Emily?"

"No, of course not. Even if I would, do you really think she would?" Matt felt like an ass lying to Cheryl, but he had no choice.

"I guess you're right, Emily wouldn't do that," Cheryl commented, seemingly satisfied.

Oh, I'm so going to hell right now, Matt thought to himself. Even if she was there boss, after five years of being partnered, Cheryl was one of his closest friends, and Matt didn't like lying to his friends.

"Alright Matt, you can move now," the doctor returned, reading a chart. "Hi, Dr. Clansden, you are?"

"Cheryl Carrera, I'm in charge of the now quarantined CNU Matt and Emily work at."

"Oh, then maybe we should test you too?"

"No, I feel fine," Cheryl answered quickly, not wanting a lumbar needle anywhere near her.

"Well, Matt felt fine too, but he's sick, or at least he will be."

"I have it too?" Matt asked, less than pleased.

"Yep, sorry."

"When's Emily going to wake up?" Matt tried not to sound as worried or anxious as he was, no need to make Cheryl wonder again.

"Hopefully soon, the fever is down again, and her fluids are replenishing nicely."

Matt nodded, slightly less worried now than he was before, but only slightly.

"Alright, I'll be back in later to check on her. And, you're free to go if you want Matt, just stay in bed tomorrow, drink lots of fluids, and keep an eye on your temp," the doctor instructed before leaving.

"Are you going to stay until she wakes up?" Cheryl asked him.

"Yeah, I don't want her to wake up alone here." Matt hated hospitals with a passion, but he'd stay for Emily.

"I'm going to go then, and check on the CNU, I want to know what they're doing to it." Cheryl was a little surprised he was staying, since she knew he hated being within fifty feet of a hospital. Then again he was Matt, and tough as he may like to appear, he was a very sweet guy; it didn't surprise her that he would stay so Emily didn't have been alone in the hospital.

"I guess you'll let me know when we can all go back to work?"

"The doctor just told you to keep your ass in bed tomorrow, why do you care?"

"I hate being sick," he pouted.

"Suck it up Matt, and call me when Emily wakes up," she called to him as she left.

Once she was gone, Matt went to sit by Emily again, taking her hand, and wondering again when he'd begun to feel more for her than friendship with extra benefits. He didn't even realize that he was starting to drift off, asleep minutes later.

Emily woke up confused, startled, and even a little scared. Where was she, how'd she get here, and what the hell happened? She was quickly able to deduce hospital by the bright lights, machines everywhere, and distinctive smell. After that she figured out that Matt must have brought her, pausing her thinking long enough to be amused by the fact that he was using her stomach as a pillow.

She went to move her right arm, only to wince in pain from the IV shoved in the underside of her elbow. She forgot they typically don't hurt unless you move. She glanced up at the pole, it looked like all they were giving her was the hydrating saline solution, and going by the numbers on the control box, it would be done in two hours. Had she really been sick enough to need a hospital?

She remembered very little after whatever night it was that she ate that soup that Matt made. She remembered him nagging her to eat it, and remembered going back to sleep afterwards, but nothing after that. She let a hand rest in Matt's hair, stroking his head for a few moments, watching him sleep. He must have felt her hand, or sensed her eyes on him, because soon he began blinking awake.

"Hey, you're awake," he said happily when he'd adjusted to being awake.

"Yeah, I guess you brought me here?"

"Uh, yeah, You spiked a really high fever, and were really out of it, you thought I was you're brother."

"Really?" She certainly didn't remember that.

Matt nodded, "You scared the hell out of me, Em."

Emily was startled by the intensity and honesty she saw in his eyes, and quickly changed the topic. "So, uh, what's wrong with me?"

"Viral meningitis, doctor says it's usually not worse than the flu, but you're one of the unusuals. Once they get your fluids back up, and are satisfied you're fever's down, I can take you home."

She nodded, "good."

"Cheryl came by before, almost figured us out."

She look at him startled.

"Relax, I managed to convince her that it's not something you would do."

"And what about you?"

"After working together this long, there's very little Cheryl would be surprised if I did. Hooking up with my partner isn't one of them, unless maybe you were a guy. That would surprise her," Matt commented with a self-deprecating grin.

"I imagine it would," Emily laughed.

"Are you feeling better?" He asked concerned.

"Yeah, thank you…for taking care of me." Emily knew that had Matt not been around, she probably would have died, or at least suffered severe brain damage from that fever. But, she couldn't analyze his attentiveness right now, she wasn't ready to acknowledge what he might feel for her, and she definitely wasn't ready to think about how much he meant to her.

"Anytime." Matt meant that too. He wasn't really ready to admit it to himself, but his feeling for her definitely ran deeper than they'd agreed upon. He thought hers might too.

This was started along time ago when I was sick, then I worked on it in bits and pieces, but finally decided it was time to finish it. Originally supposed to be much shorter, and humorous, but kind of fluffy now. Oh well, the best-laid plans, right? Thanks for ready and reviewing!