AN: *sigh* I'm not terribly happy with this piece overall, though there are parts I absolutely love. But last weeks episode was so wonderful I just had to react, and this is what came out. Hopefully you like it better than I did.

Huge SPOILERS for episode 2x09, Double Fault. Also, sadly, I do not own Necessary Roughness, nor any of the characters. Except in my dreams.

The thought occurred to him that Dani wouldn't like it if she knew he was still watching her from outside her house. As his mother used to say, tough tooties. There was no way he was just leaving without making sure she was okay. Or at least, as okay as she could be following the revelation that her practice was in shambles and her privacy had been totally violated by some listening device planted by God knows who. Nico looked on with sad eyes as she sank down to the floor by her door, sobs shaking her shoulders.

It hurt that she had kicked him out. He understood, but it still hurt. She wanted her breakdown to be private. She wanted to appear to the world as the strong Dr. Dani Santino, unfazed by whatever was thrown her way, able to deal with any crisis with a cool, unemotional head.

He was not the world. He had thought he was her friend. It killed him to see the loss of her innocence, her realization that some people would go to any length to get ahead in life. He wanted to comfort her, to show her that there were still good people in the world, people who knew that there were some lines that should never be crossed. He wanted to protect her from ever feeling this way again. But apparently her trust didn't extend to emotions.

He ruthlessly shoved that thought to the back of his mind and out of his head. What did he expect? For her to throw herself into his arms, cry herself out on his shoulder, and fall asleep on his chest from emotional exhaustion? He had told her himself, he couldn't fix people. No matter how much he wished he could at times.

He most definitely wished he could right now, as her shoulders slowly stilled and her head raised. She propped her chin on her her arms, which were crossed on top of her drawn up knees. She looked lost, staring around at her office, once offered as a safe haven, now never to be trusted again. She looked lonely.

His mind replayed their conversation. He hated the raw skepticism in her eyes when he told her he wouldn't let anything come of the bug. What had he done to cause her to doubt him like that? Was it the fact that there was a bug in her office in the first place? He would have given anything to prevent that from happening. It wasn't fair that it was happening to her, of all people. She had been through so much already, and didn't deserve to have this thrown on the pile. Not that she couldn't handle it. She could. But she shouldn't have to.

It took a while for her to regain her composure, but he watched proudly as she wiped her eyes and stood back up, all trace of tragedy erased but the red eyes. Good girl. She walked out of the room, shutting the light off and closing the door on the way. He waited just a moment more until her bedroom light turned on, then turned and left, a small smile gracing his lips. Maybe he hadn't protected her from this, but he could fix it. He would fix it. He would prove to her that she could count on him, that he would take care of her.

He would prove to her that she wasn't alone.

AN: Again, I hope you liked this better than I did. Thanks for reading.