Disclaimer: Not my world, not my characters.
Lucy paced back and forth in the tiny tent she had all to herself. The army group she was with had largely ignored her and she'd had very little to occupy her mind. She didn't even know how long it had been since they'd arrived here, but this morning the general whose name she had already forgotten had come to tell her that she would be going home soon. He said he'd gotten a message from the FBI that she was no longer in danger, and since she was taking up space that they needed an agent would be coming to get her next week.
Trying to make plans for what she would do with herself was taking her mind off Emerson, finally. She hadn't come up with anything that seemed like a good idea yet, but at least it was something new to do. After all, she was hardly the first woman to be hurt by a man. Maybe she could move on when she could find something to occupy her mind.
Eight days later, freshly off the plane, she walked into Ray Archer's bar. She needed to know what had happened, and Ray and Emerson were the only two people she knew how to find. Cowardice drove her to start with Ray. He was wiping some glasses, and frowned when he saw her.
"Whadda you want?" he growled.
"Mr. Archer, I know you don't have any reason to help me, but I was hoping you could tell me... tell me what happened. Hauser sent me away weeks ago and all I know is somebody at the FBI said it was safe for me to come back."
"What happened? That rat-bastard Hauser... sorry, I guess I shouldn't insult him in front of you..."
She smirked a little. "Don't hold back on my account, I'm pretty angry with him myself."
"Hah. That rat-bastard shot Tommy right in front of me, that's what happened. I was just locking up and he came running down the street and before I could find out why, bang. I don't know about any of the rest of it except some of the beat cops I see in here were complaining about cleaning up some mess out by the docks. Seems he's got a real itchy trigger finger these days."
Lucy thanked Ray and sighed to herself. She'd tried to get Emerson to control his temper, but she supposed he hadn't been listening to her at all. She left the bar with no fewer questions and a great deal more disturbed than when she'd come in, and she knew her next stop would be Emerson's house.
It was full dark when she arrived, and Emerson's car was parked outside. Lucy fought back a surge of rage at the thought of him relaxing on a comfortable couch, while she was tying herself in knots trying to reassemble her life. She rang the doorbell and pounded on the door, and a minute later, rang and pounded more. She tried to look in the blinds when there was still no answer, but all she could see was that it looked like there was a light on somewhere in the back. No one was nearby to see her, so she went around to the back door.
Banging on the back door didn't bring any more success than the front door had. "Emerson, you jerk," she muttered to herself, "I'm not going away if you ignore me. I want some answers!" The blinds by the back door were open a little and she peered inside. That room with a light was just visible, and... his legs on the floor, unmoving. She broke a window without even thinking about it, unlocked the door and ran inside.
She reached Emerson, sprawled out on the floor of a bathroom, and the stench told her exactly what had happened. The smells of alcohol and vomit hit her like a hammer, and she was kneeling in a puddle of both to check for a pulse before her conscious brain had processed everything. She found a pulse and he seemed to be breathing normally, so she stepped outside the bathroom for some deep breaths. Her heart was racing and she needed to calm down before going back in there. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
Back in the bathroom, she picked up his shoulders and dragged him away from the puddle. She propped him up on his side against the wall, grabbed a towel and started cleaning the mess off the floor. It was the first time in weeks that she felt like she was doing something useful.
Two and half hours later, Lucy was sitting on the floor listening for changes in his breathing. She was also trying to hang onto her anger, but with the scare wearing off she just felt numb. Love or no love, he'd done quite a lot for her and maybe she'd been stupid to believe that he felt the same way about her after fifty years. The part of her that wanted to scream at him for hurting her so callously was taking some satisfaction from finding him like this, but she wondered even more what he had seen. The Emerson she knew fifty years ago had been strongly idealistic, a good man who saw good in others and could have been badly shaken by some of the horrors she'd encountered in the minds of her patients. Over the years, though, he'd grown so cynical and bitter that she shuddered at the thought of something that could have upset him enough to lead to this.
He coughed a little, and struggled a bit to sit up. She stayed quiet and didn't try to help him. He pushed himself off the floor and then, barely opening his eyes for the first time, leaned over the toilet and dry-heaved. Still she stayed quiet. When he finished retching, he panted and leaned against the wall.
"I didn't think I'd ever see you again." His voice was rough, and she guessed that this was not the first time he'd woken up this way recently. "Why are you here?"
There were so many ways she could have answered that question. "You've saved my life a couple of times. I figured the least I could do was keep you from choking on your own vomit." He sagged against the wall a little more, and she added, "Also, I need to know what happened. Your friends from the Bureau came to get me from Paraguay, but they wouldn't tell me anything, not even if you... not even who lived and who died. I tried Ray, but he didn't know anything."
"It's over. That map, we caught most of them -"
"Caught or killed," she interrupted, thinking of what Ray had told her.
Emerson turned his head a bit and looked at her before turning away again. "Yes, caught or killed. Scattered around near where the map showed they'd be. The warden was holed up pretty tightly about 60 miles north of here with the others, maybe they were supposed to be guarding him or guarding something he had, I don't know. We tried smoking them out, but they were prepared."
"It doesn't matter, they're in custody now."
"And what about the rest of it? What about why or how?"
"The warden's plans? I don't know all of it. He was arming them, though, the inmates I mean, and some of them were going after Simmons' people. Simmons was supposed to take care of something for him, only I guess he changed his mind and decided to double-cross him instead."
"That all I know, and I won't be getting any more answers. Apparently the FBI isn't in favor of secret divisions that have completed their job. They couldn't pension us off fast enough."
That was it, then, and she supposed it would have to do. She stood up from the floor, and couldn't resist a final barb. "Well, thank you for that. I can see you're fine alone, and since you don't want me around, I'll get out of your way." He hung his head, and she turned away a little ashamed.
"It wasn't true," he said, quietly.
"Those things I said in your office. They weren't true."
She turned back around and stared at him. The numbness she'd been feeling faded away, replaced with fresh anger. "You mean, when you told me you didn't want me around? That you'd changed and didn't love me anymore?"
"I have never, not for one moment, stopped loving you." His words were halting, as if he were admitting to something disgraceful.
"You lied to me. Emerson, look at me." He lifted his head just enough and the pain she saw in his face told her that he knew what he'd done, but she had to tell him anyway. "You hurt me. You broke my heart. Because, because you thought they would kill me?" He nodded. " Are you sorry?"
"I am extremely sorry for hurting you, but I don't regret it. You're alive and two of my men are dead and I nearly died. I can't ask you to forgive me, I can't forgive myself, but you are alive."
She leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes, trying to understand. "You didn't even give me a chance to be safe here. I didn't have to go hunting them with you. Psychology wouldn't have been much use anyway, with a map to them. Of course, it's all moot now."
"Did Ray tell you I killed Tommy?"
"We caught a pair of inmates working together, they'd set several small fires in commercial buildings. They were working their way up to bigger ones, and they had a copy of the plans for your apartment building. One of them admitted to getting them from Tommy."
She tried to sort out her thoughts. It wasn't news that there had been danger involved, and she was sure she would not have died in a simple apartment fire with the quick healing her body now did. She still believed that together they could have taken on anything. It was useless to continue the argument, though, and now she felt completely wrung out.
"How did you nearly die?" she asked.
"I got shot in the stomach."
"The same way you did. Dr. Beauregard gave me a transfusion."
That stopped her for a moment, astonished. "I'm surprised you let him do it."
"I was unconscious. He was right to do it, though. I wasn't done yet."
She walked the few steps that were between them and sat down by his side, very close but not touching.
"And you think you're done now? Emerson, I've spent the last several weeks trying to believe that you didn't love me, and missing you so badly. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw you telling me you didn't want me. And now, I've traded one pain for another. The man I love broke my heart with a lie. You're not done, you can't just sit there. I need you to hold me."
He turned and looked at her, a glimmer of hope in his eyes, and then suddenly she was pulled into the kind of solid, steady embrace that she had always loved from him. It was stiff at first, but his arms relaxed around her as she leaned into him.
"You needed this as much as I did, didn't you?" she said when he rested his cheek on the top of her head.
He was quiet for a long moment before answering her.
"There was a day - it was years ago so I don't remember it very well. This was when I was still a cop. I normally worked the evening shift at the desk and did some early morning patrols. I'd only been there a few months, maybe a year. One of my friends who usually worked evenings, only not at the desk, his wife was pregnant. She went into labor that day, and he came running back into the station and begged me to take his shift so he could go to the hospital. There were a few other guys at the desk, so I went. I might not have gone if I'd known he was scheduled to do transport duty out to Alcatraz that night, I hated boats. And that," he said, curling his hand up to cradle her head against his shoulder, "was the last day of my life when I didn't need you."