Tired Promises

Disclaimer: I don't own Saving Grace, but I sure wish I did. No infringement intended.

When she got home that day, and greeted Gus at the door, it was only slightly earlier than usual. They had closed their current case, and all the boys were going out to celebrate. Their captain was going home for a nice quiet evening in and her best friend was going home to her family. That just left Grace. She hadn't felt like celebrating. She hadn't felt like spending time around anyone. She was tired and not just the simple tired, after a long day. It was the tired that went bone deep, right down to her soul. It was the kind of tired that made her heart hurt and her body ache.

So Grace went home to Gus, who greeted her faithfully at the door, like any good dog would do. She fed him and then flopped gracelessly onto her bed. She didn't even have the energy to open her eyes when Earl appeared in a short burst of light.

"Everything alright, Grace?" He asked, as if he didn't have a clue.

"Sure, just tired." She said out loud, but her thoughts were just as tired as her body. They wanted to stop, permanently. Permanently. The word echoed through them, until it was the only thing left in her mind.

"Well then you should get some sleep." Earl said as he started to leave.

"Earl?" Something in Grace's voice, made him stop and turn back to face her quickly. She was still lying in the same spot, with her eyes still closed. And yet there was something different, something needy in her voice, that wasn't there before.

"Yeah, Grace?"

"Will you stay with me tonight?"

"Of course." He moved to sit in the chair where he could keep an eye on her, but she reached out a hand to him, instinctively knowing where he was in her room. He took it and let her pull him closer. He wasn't sure what she was doing, but if she was feeling bad enough to ask him to stay with her, then he wasn't about to object. Grace finally opened her eyes to look at him, and what he saw in those depths scared him. There was hopelessness in her eyes, and there was pain. But over all of that was an abiding exhaustion that had taken up residence in her soul. No, he wouldn't leave her that night, or any other that she asked him to stay.

He was pulled from his insights by the feel of her hand. She tugged him gently onto the bed, and when he finally relaxed down next to her, she snuggled into his chest. He was a little shocked to say the least. No one had ever cuddled up to him, before. In the spirit of her trust, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

:"Thanks, Earl. Promise me something?"

"Anything."

"Promise me you'll still be here in the morning, when I wake up."

"I promise. Now, rest."

"Goodnight Earl."

"Goodnight, Grace."

And when morning came, the sun peeking into her bedroom window, waking her from her peaceful sleep, Grace remembered her question, and felt the warm presence of her promise next to her. She smiled to herself and gently slid back into the world of dreams, a little less tired than she was before.