Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs, Supernatural and associated characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Anything you don't recognise is a product of my imagination.
...and woke up with the sound of a gunshot echoing in his ears, sweating and staring about him at the darkness in panic, not recognising where he was.
Don's hand groped out sideways and found the grip of his gun. Casting the holster aside he jerked the weapon around aiming at the shadows. Panting hard he finally realised that he was sitting in his bed, in his bedroom, in his apartment. He also froze as he realised that his finger had taken up the slack on the Glock's trigger and he was a hair away from opening fire. Taking deep, calming breaths he was able to slowly ease up the pressure and pull his finger off the trigger. The gun started to shake and he let it lower to the bed in front of him before a sudden attack of paranoia had him jerking it back up. He groped out again with his left hand, finding the switch and turning on the lamp beside his bed. The wash of light was welcoming but just made the space beyond the open door to his room even darker. Throwing aside the bedclothes he was up and moving, clearing his apartment.
He finally came to his senses when every light was blazing to find himself shivering in the cool air. His boxers and shirt were damp with sweat and his legs felt as if they were going to collapse at any moment. Taking a few unsteady steps he leant against his kitchen bench as he tried to regain his equilibrium. Finally he was able to release the grip on his gun and drew himself a glass of water.
Coughing as some of the water went down the wrong way he managed half the glass. Splashing some water on his face he stepped back and leant against the opposite bench as he pulled himself together.
It was a nightmare, he realised. Nothing more than a nightmare brought on by the stress of the impending meeting with the agents from the Behavioural Analysis Unit. It had felt so real, the gun against his head, the cold of the mud against his knees...
Don blinked and focused on the brightly lit room and on his gun lying within reach on the bench top across from him. It was a nightmare, he reminded himself, nothing more.
Despite the lack of sleep the rest of the night Don was able to remain calm and focused as he told the two BAU agents of his encounters with the Winchester brothers. He found himself stumbling slightly over the recollection of what happened after his pursuit of Regan in the cemetery, experiencing a flashback to his nightmare, but managed to tell the rest of his tale without further problems. The day was a long one, with a late break for lunch that Don took outside the building where he downed three cups of coffee and found himself unable to eat. Fighting the caffeine induced shakes after the break he gave the BAU agents his analysis of the brothers at their request being careful how he painted them given the official reports of how they had threatened and tortured him.
Finally the agents put down their pens and shut off the digital recorder. Glancing at his watch Don wasn't surprised to see it was almost five o'clock. The caffeine hit had long since worn off and he was struggling with his lack of sleep and the mental tiredness the day had caused. He shook the two agents' hands and took his leave, trying not to look too relieved.
"Agent Eppes," a voice called behind him just as he reached for the coffee pot in the break room.
Turning Don managed a friendly smile as Agent Hansen pushed the glass door closed behind him. About to speak Don found himself hesitating at the expression on the other man's face, he wasn't here for coffee. The BAU agent moved closer and he found himself on guard.
"Agent Eppes," Hansen repeated. "I know there are things you left out."
"I've told you everything," Don started but Hansen shook his head.
"No, not everything," Hansen said as he stepped closer.
Don refused to react to the invasion of his personal space and tried not to flinch as the other agent whispered into his ear.
"You know them better than you're letting on. I know."
The guilt ran through him in a jolt of adrenalin and now Don did move, turning and filling his coffee cup. By some miracle his hand didn't shake.
"I know you've helped them, spent more time with them, probably Dean I'm guessing, than what you're saying," Hansen accused, still keeping his voice conspiratorially low. "I've also spent time with Dean and I can tell that you know him."
Hidden from Hansen's view Don fumbled the sweetener sachet and had to reach a second time for it, tearing it open and getting most of the powder into the cup. He refused to allow himself to otherwise react to the statement, instead concentrating on stirring his coffee. He tapped the stirrer on the edge of the cup and unconsciously stuck the end into his mouth sucking the miniscule amount of coffee out of the flattened straw while he tried to figure out Hansen's angle. The other agent was a professional profiler, skilled at getting into the minds of subjects in every situation. Don had expected to be profiled during the day's interview and he'd been correspondingly careful but had he slipped up? He tried to convince himself that the ring of truth he'd heard in the other man's voice was a ploy to get him to confess.
"Don't worry, none of this goes in the report," Hansen continued. "I'd have to turn myself in as well."
"Perhaps I should turn you in," Don finally faced the other man, tossing the stirrer in the trash. "You've just admitted to having a relationship with a wanted fugitive."
"I don't think you'll do that."
"You're hoping I'm profiling you, running some game on you to get you to confess, right?"
Don kept his face carefully schooled; it had been exactly what he'd been thinking. Hansen was indeed good at what he did. So was he. "You know what they did to me. You think I'm on their side after that?"
The BAU agent nodded as if he'd expected the defence. "I know they hurt you and threatened you. I believe you when you say Dean held a gun on you a few days ago. But I know how they work, I know the relationships that Dean develops with law enforcement whether he means to or not. The relationship he forged with me, and now with you."
"I think you've been reading those files for too long, Agent Hansen," Don fired back. "I have no relationship with Dean Winchester, or his brother."
Hansen stared at him for a long moment before backing off. "Perhaps I was mistaken."
"No perhaps about it," Don muttered, trying to keep the relief from his tone. He started to push his way past the other agent but stopped at the hand that barred his way.
"My card," Hansen said.
Don hesitated; knowing whatever he did could be interpreted against him. He decided to take the card, potentially less damning than refusing it.
"If ever you want to talk, call me."
"I'll do that," Don couldn't hide the tone in his voice that belied his words. He brushed past the other agent and tried to walk normally to his desk, feeling Hansen's eyes on him the entire way.
Sitting at his desk, half hidden behind the partition and his monitor Don logged on to his terminal. He appeared not to notice as Hansen went back to the conference room and had a short discussion with the other BAU agent. The two agents disappeared from his view as they sat at the table, probably finalising their notes, assuming Hansen wasn't accusing him of collusion with the fugitives. He wanted to go home, as much to collapse on his couch and get some rest as to evade the two agents. Fearing that leaving so quickly after the encounter with Hansen could be read as guilt he instead busied himself clearing the day's emails and reports. It was an hour before the BAU agents left the conference room, files and notes packed away into briefcases.
"It was a pleasure meeting you, Agent Eppes," the senior BAU agent said as they stopped by.
Don stood and again shook the woman's hand. "And you, Agent Rush. I hope I was able to help."
"Yes, thank-you. Every little bit helps." Rush turned and walked away.
Hansen gave Don a searching look that he returned calmly, his emotions carefully held in check. He thought he saw a flicker of doubt in the BAU agent's eyes before Hansen inclined his head and went after Rush.
Taking his seat Don listened until he heard the elevator doors close. Letting out a long breath he closed his eyes, sincerely hoping he didn't encounter the Winchesters a sixth time, he could do without another round with the BAU. Or another stress induced nightmare.
A/N: For those who were wondering, I had to go with OCs for the BAU agents as I have not seen Criminal Minds for some time and would not be able to get the character's voices right.