Eric rubbed his temples and squeezed his eyes closed.

"I think you need to let it go, man. She's got a bug up her ass about somethin', and callin' doesn't seem to be doin' the trick." Leo said from his desk.

"Yeah, you're probably right. I just," he opened his eyes and looked at his partner, "I dunno, I haven't really dated anyone I actually gave a crap about for..." he cocked his head to one side for a moment and then shook it, "well, anyway it's been a while. It just bugs the hell outta me that the one time I actually care about how something turns out,"

"She plays your card; becomes completely emotionally withdrawn, breaks your heart and wont tell you why?" Leo offered.

"... You're the light of my freakin' life, you know that?"

"Hey, I am not the one with pissed off midget Asian M.E avoiding me. I'm a likeable guy."

Eric snorted and hunched over his desk, leaning his head in his hands, and for a terrible heart stopping moment, he thought that the tumour in his brain had exploded. He was disoriented, he didn't feel like he was sitting in his chair any more, and there was the hollow sound of rushing air in his ears. He seemed to hear things from very far away, people yelling, alarms... he wondered if everyone was panicking because he was bleeding from his eyes or something.

"Eric! You alright man?" Leo sounded like he was a million miles away. "Eric!"

A heavy weight moved off his chest, and for the first time, Eric entertained the possibility that he wasn't dying from a case of brain-mush... maybe he really was lying on the floor? "What...? What the hell...?"

"Bomb. C'mon man, get up." With a grunt of effort, Leo hooked his arms under his partners and hauled him to his feet. "You steady? You good?"

"Yeah, yeah." Eric shook his head to clear it and blinked around the room which was in complete disarray. "Can't hear past the ringing but I think I'm good."

"Sound off! Now! I wanna know who was in this room and I want to hear your voices!" The Sargent was barked from the doorway.

It was chaos. The floor below them had been almost completely gutted, and they were evacuated quickly down the fire escape and into the street. Shraeger had a decent concussion and Walsh, with a fine sheen of sweat on his forehead and a vaguely twitchy look in his eye had climbed into the ambulance to go to the hospital with her. He didn't want to, and he'd made it clear he'd be out of there the second her boyfriend arrived, but she'd always said she'd hate to wake up in the hospital alone...

"OK ladies!" Sargent stood on a crate and waved his arms to get their attention. "I want anyone who can still stand up, see lightning and hear thunder to join me at a temporary command post that's being set up at City hall. Alverez I can see your ears bleeding! Go to the hospital. Now."

Once the initial shock had worn off, things began to happen rabidly, and Eric found himself manning an endless run of phone calls from concerned citizens who didn't seem to want anything, they just called to express their concern... or to complain about the noise. He was starting to wish his tumour would explode so he could get out of there...

"Oh my God!" Blinking somewhat stupidly, Eric looked up to see Monica in the entryway with her hands over her mouth and her eyes wide.


She rushed across the room and he was forced to catch her as she flung herself into his arms. "You ass hole!" She gasped when she pulled back, and slapped him hard across the face.

"I... wait... what? What the hell? I have no idea what just happened! What are you doing here?"

"You called me every single day, for a week! The precinct blew up and... and you didn't call... I thought you were dead you big jerk!" She made to hit him again but he caught her arm.

"OK, OK, enough with the hitting." He frowned down at her, "I'm fine... OK?"

Monica shook her head and covered her mouth with her hands again and her eyes filled with tears. Very slowly, as though afraid she'd lose it and start trying to hit him again, Eric put his arms around her and pulled her gently against his chest.

"Eric are you gonna help me or... oh," Leo stopped short. "Ah, never mind. I ah, I got it."

"Thanks man, I just need to take a couple'a minutes." Eric kept one arm around Monica's shoulders and waved at his partner with the other, his face begging for help over her head.

"Yeah, course, take your time. I got this."

"OK," he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "OK, so, lets just go over here for a couple of minutes and ah... and..." he shook his head and stopped trying. Instead he guided her over to a small office and closed the door behind them with his foot. "Monica...?" She lifted her red rimmed eyes and looked up at him.

"I ah," she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I was really scared..."

"You're shaking." He said somewhat stupidly, and shrugged out of his coat so he could hang it around her shoulders. She practically disappeared inside it, and didn't say anything when he somewhat timidly put his arms around her again.


"I don't think you've ever called me by my name before." He tightened his arms a little, because he could feel her starting to pull herself together and he knew what came next.

She sighed and took another deep breath. "Eric nothing's changed. I shouldn't have come, I know I shouldn't, I was just,"

"Hey, I am unbelievably not mad..."

"You know that's not what I mean. I can't, I like you, you know I do, but this is crazy. I don't understand how you can be so calm about the fact that you're workplace exploded but you wont,"

When he couldn't take it any more, he kissed her. He pinned her to him with one arm, while the fingers on his other hand tangled in her hair. Some time later, when she pulled herself away from his mouth and struggled to even out her breathing, he cupped her face gently. "If I go see the doctor will you start taking my God damn calls?" He asked softly. She nodded and tilted her head to press her cheek into his palm. "Will you come with me?"

"Oh, I was going to do that anyway, you might punk out otherwise."

"You don't trust me, you crabby bitch?"

"It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I know you're a huge hairy baby."

Eric screwed up his face at her for a moment, then he laughed and kissed her again.