Disclaimer : Numb3rs and it's characters belong to someone other than I.
A/N : Alright, I slipped up and didn't mark it as complete. Thanks for pointing that out NaggingCube! So, in recognition of my stupidity I will give you a short epilogue!
Colby thanked Alan and Charlie Eppes profusely. He had stayed with them for 4 nights, they had sat with him through sleepless hours following nightmares, helping him talk through the things that were bothering him. He was finally returning to his apartment, David was waiting patiently to drive him. He slid contentedly into the passenger seat of his partner's car, happy to be going home. The man in the driver's seat was also happy, it was another step closer to Colby coming back to work, something they were both looking forward to. They pulled up outside Colby's apartment building and both men got out. David grabbing his friend's bag from the backseat.
"Man, I'm not an invalid, I can carry my own bag!" Colby sighed.
"Make the most of it whilst you can if I were you, before you know it you'll be back at work and nobody will be waiting on you." David responded.
Walking to the apartment complex Colby was surprised to see the door open and his neighbour Eleanor standing the other side.
"Colby!" She exclaimed, pulling him into her embrace as he reached her.
David chuckled as he watched his friend redden at the attention, the smile was soon wiped off his face when she turned her attention to him and embraced him as well. Colby's grin was equally as wide as David's had been.
"Come on, come on, in you come, you shouldn't be loitering around out here, upstairs with you." She chided her neighbour.
Not wanting to upset Eleanor, Colby did as instructed, closely followed by David. When they reached his apartment the door was open, and Colby turned to his friend for an explanation.
"Oh, I let Eleanor in this morning on my way over to collect you, I bought some groceries for you and she kindly offered to put them away as I was running late." David explained.
Colby wasn't sure how he felt about the elderly lady being able to walk round his apartment freely, but he turned to look at her and couldn't be mad, she just wanted to help him. Entering his apartment he dropped his keys on the table in the hallway and walked through to his sitting room. Eleanor had obviously cleaned, there wasn't a speck of dust to be seen. "Eleanor, you didn't have to clean!"
"I wanted to. I've changed your bed and done some washing too. I know your Mom doesn't live near here and you have no family close by, you've been so good to me helping me with things, I wanted to do something in return, this gave me the chance."
It was Colby's turn to pull Eleanor into a hug, touched by her thoughtfulness. He thought he should introduce Alan to his neighbour, with the way they fussed around the younger generation they'd probably get on well. He found himself being pushed into his armchair. "Sit down, I'll make you a drink." He went to protest, but she was gone before he had a chance. David followed her out to the kitchen and came back shortly with a plate of homemade muffins and some mugs of coffee on a tray. He smiled at Colby who was relaxing, it wasn't often he saw his best friend so calm and still, despite his absence being enforced by illness it seemed the break had done him good. He handed Colby a mug of coffee and a cake. He was just taking his first bite of the chocolate chip muffin when Eleanor bustled back in and sat down.
"How are you feeling Colby?" She asked softly.
"I'm fine Eleanor, honestly. I'm seeing the FBI doctor in 2 days, hoping he'll let me back to work."
"Oh, so soon, is that such a good idea?"
"Don't worry Eleanor, the FBI doc won't let Colby here back to work unless he's definitely fit for duty. In fact our boss won't either. Don is insistent that this time he takes the time that he needs to fully recover."
The three sat chatting for a while before David had to leave to head back to the office, he helped Eleanor clear away the remnants of the coffee and muffins before escorting her back to her apartment, assuring an anxious Colby that he wouldn't forget to come by and pick him up the morning of his appointment with the FBI doctor. Don had refused to allow Colby to retrieve his car, knowing that the man would be at the office before cleared if he had the transport to hand.
Two days later Colby was watching out the window of his apartment for his partner. He was late, typical, if he missed the appointment with the doctor then he wouldn't be allowed to return to work. His partner was normally so punctual. As soon as David pulled into the parking lot he grabbed his wallet, cell and keys, dashing out the door, ensuring it was locked behind him. He ran down the stairs and out the door of the complex, just managing to avoid knocking Eleanor down.
"Good luck Colby!" She called after him.
He turned to wave at her and carried on to where his partner had just stopped in front of the building. "Your late!" Colby growled, throwing himself into the passenger seat.
"Morning to you too, what a ray of sunshine you are this morning!" Responded David smiling. "Man, calm down, I'm only 5 minutes late."
"I don't want to be late."
"You won't be, jeeze, take it easy. You're gonna push your blood pressure through the roof." David concentrated on negotiating his way through the LA traffic. When they pulled up outside the FBI building Colby was out the door before David had a chance to turn off the engine.
"See you upstairs when I'm done." He called over his shoulder, jogging over to the stairwell, deciding against waiting on the elevator, it would be just his luck that it would get stuck. David stood leaning on the door of his car watching his partner's disappearing back, he couldn't remember a time when his friend had been so nervous, shaking his head he got his jacket and walked sedately to the elevator and went up to the 7th floor to wait for the outcome of Colby's visit to the doctor. As he stepped into the bullpen he was met by Don and Megan.
"How is he?" Don asked.
"Like a cat on a hot tin roof!" Chuckled David.
"He looked pretty good the last time I saw him, all he needs to do is convince the doctor." Stated Megan.
"Lets hope so." Replied David, seating himself in the cubicle he shared with Colby. The man looked up every time he heard the elevator doors, something that didn't go unnoticed by either Don or Megan.
Colby closed the door of the doctor's office behind him, that had been the longest 30 minutes of his life. Taking a deep breath he walked slowly out of the office and headed for the 7th floor where he knew the team were waiting to find out how he got on. When the elevator doors opened he stepped out into the familiar bullpen, there was the usual daily activity. He approached the cubicles shared by the Eppes team, aware of 6 pairs of eyes watching his progress. It seemed Alan, Charlie and Amita had all dropped by to see how he got on. He stopped before them, not looking any of them in the eye. The silence between them seemed to stretch for hours, until, finally, David couldn't stand it any longer. "Well?" He demanded.
Colby looked up at his partner, pausing before replying, then his face broke into a grin. "Clean bill of health, cleared to return to duty!" He jubilantly handed the paperwork to Don to prove he was telling the truth.
"Everyone, get your coffee now, Granger's back on duty!" Megan called out, earning herself a friendly, gentle push from Colby.
"Glad to hear you're fit and healthy again." Alan, patted the young man's arm in a fatherly manner.
"Place hasn't been the same without you." Stated Charlie, who spent as much time there as any of the team.
"Good to have you back, partner." David reached out, the 2 friends clasped hands and bumped shoulders in that unique way men have of expressing their joy without actually embracing one another.
"I'll echo that." Don said. He smiled to himself, team Eppes was complete once more.
Colby sat at his desk, delighted to find himself back at work, he had been bored sitting by himself at home. Don walked up quietly behind him, put his hand on the young agent's shoulder and grinned, winking at the others. "Welcome back dude." He dumped a huge pile of paperwork on the desk next to him and walked away with a chuckle.
Colby groaned dramatically. "Can I get some breakfast before I start this?" He turned to face his boss.
"Oh yeah, you're definitely better, thinking about your stomach again!" Megan laughed.
He then uttered the magic words. "My treat. Alan, Charlie, Amita, you're welcome to join us, Megan, why don't you call Larry too." Deciding that Colby taking his wallet out and spending his money on breakfast for them might not happen again for a long time Don readily agreed.
The team grabbed their jackets and the extended family left to get their breakfast. As the elevator doors closed behind them all the 7th floor heard was laughter.
ABSOLUTELY THE END!!!
A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews, alerts and general encouragement. I hope that you are all now content with this story and where it has ended as I am 100% done! On to those other 2 stories I mentioned previously now.