Author's note: I considered the story done with the one chapter, but a number of reviewers seemed to expect a second chapter. Probably because I did not notice that the "In progress" indicator was on when I posted it. I hate to disappoint, so here you go.
When Carter woke up, the headache was hanging on just at the limit of her perception, and she actually felt rested. She stretched and, recalling the events from the previous night, quickly looked around the room confirming she was alone. Her gaze lingered at the window, the sun shining in from alarmingly high in the sky already.
Turning towards her nightstand, her alarm clock was no help in determining the exact time, since it had been unplugged. "John!" she mumbled. Her wrist watch informed her that it was just past 8:40am. She called Fusco while stumbling out of bed.
"Hi Fusco, I'll be late coming in this morning."
"Late?" He said, surprise in his voice. "Last I heard you got the morning off."
"The captain, that's who. Said your doctor's office called."
"How … ? Never mind."
She hung up the phone.
"John!" she thought again, mildly irritated.
She went to have a shower, feeling just short of upset at John for taking over her life like that. But why was she even surprised? He was nearly certainly tracking her everywhere she went, listening in on her phone conversations, probably had her medical records and her personnel file. This man knew no boundaries and did just as he pleased.
That wasn't quite true though. The previous night he had seemingly made every effort to be respectful and considerate, and to not cross any lines.
At first she had not known what to make of him invading her privacy, her bedroom, in such a .. direct, non-covert .. way. Of course that was just like him. She had been in no position to do anything about it and had been irritated at the intrusion at first. She just didn't think she could handle his usual antics, barely conscious as she was with all that pain. Part of her expected him to exploit her weakness in some way. But the way he pulled his hand away when she flinched, attuned to her wishes even when expressed by the smallest gesture, thus trying to alleviate any discomfort he perceived her having, and didn't argue with her about the hospital or leaving her bedroom; that was unexpected.
It hit her then that he had not given her a hard time, not pushed her boundaries the night before, and let her be in control of the situation so willingly, because he knew she would not have been able to push back or to fight for control. He was not the kind of person to exploit another's weakness, unless he thought they deserved no better. That must have been what she sensed the previous night already, since she really did not mind him staying after he came in the room the second time. In fact, she had really appreciated him just being there at that point. And while she could not quite condone the illegal possession of narcotics, the result of it was a considerable relieve from her pain. How did he get results that were so right, with methods that were so wrong?
She couldn't even be really mad at him for calling in sick for her. She must have looked like death warmed over the night before; she'd sure felt like it. He was looking out for her; he did say he would have her back. She had not asked to be looked out for, but she had not asked him to stop either. In fact she had at least once thanked him for having her back.
She was still in thought when she found the box of doughnuts and the thermos of coffee in the kitchen. No doubt courtesy of John when he came to pick Taylor up for school. She shook her head, smiling. That guy sure could be thoughtful when he wanted to be.
Her phone rang and she answered it absentmindedly while looking at the doughnuts.
"Try the one with the chocolate icing, Detective Carter, it's really good." John's voice was cheery, he was obviously pleased with himself.
"I bet it is." she deadpanned.
"How is your head this morning?"
"It's … " she was going to lie and say 'just fine', but decided to go with the truth instead. "It's getting better, it will be fine in a few hours."
"Well your doctor thought you should have the morning off anyway."
"Uh-huh. And who gets 'Impersonating a doctor' added to their list of charges - you, or your friend with the glasses?"
John smirked at that.
"You're welcome." He offered.
"Thank you." she said, sincerely, after a brief pause. Should she have told him off? Were his former CIA colleagues right, was he going to end up hurting her? Her intuition told her they were wrong and the last time she did not trust her intuition around those two, she regretted it later.
She didn't need someone to look out for her, but knowing he was there was a good feeling nonetheless and so she decided, once more, that she was okay with him having her back.
"No problem." Came the answer, and then the line went dead.
She sighed and took a bite of the chocolate covered doughnut.