Disclaimer: I do not own Numb3rs nor do I make any claims to the characters.
Colby curled up on the couch in the break room, determined to get at least an hour's rest before his never-ending workday cycle began again. They had been working nonstop for two days and everyone had gone home a few hours ago except him. He had been determined to finish up and wait for information on a mysterious substance from the lab techs. It was six o'clock in the morning and it had been a long time since he had even blinked. He didn't think he could even drive himself home.
He tossed and turned a little, uncomfortable on the communal couch that no one used. It smelled of coffee and dust, two of the few surroundings in the room. He shivered at the cold. It was winter, why was the AC on?
He slowly drifted into an unaided sleep, something that had been hard to come by in recent weeks. The nightmares had been back and he had woken up sweating or screaming almost every night. Sometimes it would be Lancer and his needles, sometimes Dwayne and his scarred hands, and sometimes it was David, yelling and questioning his identity. He didn't know which one was the worst. The soft dripping from the coffee machine kept him in a deep sleep, so deep that he didn't notice when the building started to fill in again two hours later.
"Good morning, Don." David punctuated his sentence with an extended yawn. They had all gotten very little sleep after finally wrapping up an arms dealers case that had been especially hard to pin.
"Hey, David. You look exhausted. I'd say a cup or two of that delicious FBI brew would do you some good." David nodded in agreement, frustrated with how little sleep he had gotten despite the hard work he had put in the previous days.
He slowly slugged his way to the break room, completely not expecting anyone to be hitting the coffee this early, let alone sleeping. He jumped back in surprise when he finally realized there was someone crammed on the lumpy couch, partly camouflaged by a light throw that was the same color as the ugly brown material. He smiled when he found Colby's face. He then proceeded to frown when a closer look revealed beads of sweat across a wrinkled forehead. A pained look dominated Colby's usually chipper face and he began to twitch almost, moving in regular intervals.
"Colby, wake up." No response. "Colby!" He walked to the couch and shook Colby's shoulder gently, awakening him.
Colby started, shrinking back into the cushions, wincing as the fire of his dream slowly disappeared. He cranked his eyes open and found David, staring worriedly down at him. He slowly sat up and shook his head with closed eyes. "Sorry… I must have slept longer than I wanted to…"
"Are you okay?" David took a seat next to him. "You don't look so great." Colby's face was pale and he looked quite shaky.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine. Just tired." He stood and swayed a little, and then promptly exited the break room, leaving David dazed and frustrated yet again. Why couldn't Colby ever admit he wasn't okay?
David followed the exit, completely awake without the coffee and marched into Don's office. He shut the door and turned to face him. "I think you should tell Colby to leave."
"David, I thought you were okay with him being back on the team and-
"That's not what I mean, Don. Tell him to go home. He's not himself. He slept here last night, and God only knows what time he got to bed or the last time he ate was. I have no idea what his problem is but it's probably going to affect his work ethic or his performance. Just send him home for a couple of days. He looked about ready to faint when I woke him up just now."
There was silence for a moment after the loud outburst and Don reassembled the set of his face. "Okay, I will go talk to him right now. Thanks… for uh, bringing it to my attention."
Don followed David out of the office and into the bull pen, going over what he would say in his mind. He approached Granger's desk nervously, unsure of how to deal with the usually stable agent.
"Hey, Colby?" He glanced over the wall separating the walkway from the pen. Colby was sitting in his chair with his forehead resting on the desk in front of the keyboard. He slowly brought his head up to glance at Don. His eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles under them. "Do me a favor and go home for a few days. I have a feeling things are slowing down around here and you look like you need the rest."
"Really, I'm fine. I don't need to go home." The untruth in the statement was almost tangible.
"Colby, it wasn't a request." The seriousness of his boss's tone tipped him off.
"Okay. I'll see you Monday." He stood up abruptly and trudged toward the elevator, his strong shoulders slumping in an exhausted manner.
Wow, Don thought to himself. That was way too easy.
It was Sunday night when Don called Bradford to see if he could fit Colby in. There was clearly a problem. Colby's usually bright disposition was gone with no traces. Yes, there was something wrong. After he scheduled the appointment for the next morning, he called to check in on Colby.
"Granger." The clipped reply was drained of absolutely all emotion.
"Colby, its Don. Are you coming in tomorrow?" There was silence for a few seconds.
"Yes." There was a cough away from the phone and then, "Why?"
"I scheduled you for an appointment with Bradford." He heard the beginnings of an interruption but he broke it off. "No, don't say no. It's an order. I know something's bothering you. David has noticed too. If you aren't going to talk to us about it, then you really need to talk to someone. Please, do it without a complaint."
More silence. A sigh, possibly of resignation. "I'll see you tomorrow, Don."
Good, no good? You tell me.