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When Red informed Elizabeth that Fitch was Melanie's father she was ready to act on the information. She was dying to confront him, and Red had to almost physically hold her back. The man had lied to Red, lied to Melanie, and kept them separated for over twenty years. And he had the nerve to look Red in the eye and chastise him for involving the FBI in whatever deal they had going. (Red refused to tell her the specifics.) And there was no telling what lies he had told Melanie to keep her in the dark.

And yet, Red kept calm.

Always a stickler for details, Red insisted on having a plan formulated before going after Fitch, while Elizabeth just wanted to wrap her hands around his neck. And now, instead of taking his anger out on the man responsible for ruining his life, he was taking it out on whoever was at the other end of the mysterious phone calls he'd been making. He wouldn't tell her what they were about, but from what she gathered... it wasn't anything good. It was infuriating how vague he could be. It was also infuriating that since he had been released from the hospital he had been traipsing around town like a man who hadn't just had his chest cracked open.

"Red, you have to slow down. It's only been six weeks since your surgery and you are not at one hundred percent!"

Red had ignored her, of course.

"Is that a new blouse? It's pretty," he said as he played with the hem of her shirt. "Glad to see my good taste is finally rubbing off on you."

That was the end of that conversation.

And now he was half way around the world, chasing down information on some man that Elizabeth was certain wasn't on the Blacklist before now. Red was giving the FBI just enough so that Harold wouldn't accuse him of being sidetracked by Elizabeth and Melanie. He was, indeed, totally sidetracked, but he was very good at throwing a bone when he needed to.

Elizabeth hadn't bothered to fight him about this trip. She had simply kissed him and told him to be safe. It was all she could do. Now it had been a week and she was starting to get antsy.

"Hey baby...How are you feeling?" Elizabeth breathed into the phone. These late night phone calls were what she had been living for this past week, and she was pretty sure that Red felt the same way.

"Baby? That's different."

"I'm trying something new. Hate it?" Elizabeth dropped onto the bed and the springs creaked. Time for a new mattress.

"Listen to those springs. Have we worn the mattress out that quickly?" Red's voice held nothing but pride. "I don't hate it. In fact, I think I could get used to it. We'll try it out when we get you a new mattress."

Elizabeth blushed, though she was used to Red's constant innuendo. "You're deflecting. How are you feeling?"

"I am," Red said without missing a beat. "And now I'm deflecting onto something else. What are you wearing?"

Elizabeth sighed. She didn't know why she bothered sometimes. "If you must know... I'm wearing a black tank top and boy shorts. Your favorite."

Red made an exaggerated, strangled noise in the back of his throat. "You know it. Now what are you doing...no! No! Let me guess. You are running lotion all up and down your legs, which is no fair considering that is MY job."

Elizabeth looked down at the lotioned hand that was currently frozen on her calf. "You're wrong. I'm... painting my nails."

"What color?"


"Red, of course."

"Of course." There was rustling on the other end of the line and Elizabeth could hear Dembe in the background bitching about phone sex and taking separate planes next time.

"Where are you?"

More rustling.

"Somewhere over the Atlantic. Think about it, Lizzie. In a few hours I'll be able to crawl into bed with you and..."

"And nothing. Doctor's orders." Elizabeth sighed as she smoothed the last of the lotion over her legs, wishing Red was there to do it for her. "But I don't want to talk about that right now."

"Damn doctor. Cockblocked by a man that looks like... well... nevermind. I think that show was before your time. Anyway... what do you want to talk about?"

Anything other than what she needed to talk to him about. But...she was on a time crunch.

"So...I might have invited someone over for dinner tomorrow night."

Red was undisturbed. "So I need to find somewhere else to be tomorrow night?"

Elizabeth grimaced, although there was no one there to see it. "Actually...no. You are very much invited. In fact, she insisted." She slid her legs under the covers and waited for the explosion.

"She? Oh Lizzie... you didn't..."

"I did. She called today. And Red she was so worried about you, especially since you're travelling against doctor's orders..."

"You told her I was out of the country?"

Elizabeth winced. "It slipped?"

Red was unimpressed. "I see. Well tell her you were mistaken, and that I'll be away for another week."

Elizabeth straightened up in the bed, drawing up strength for the fight that was coming. "I will not."


"Don't Lizzie me! You want to get close to her, don't you?"


"Don't you?"

Red sighed. "Of course I want to be close to Melanie. But I'm currently thinking of all the many creative ways there are to murder the man she thinks is her father, so getting close to her would just be a moot point, don't you think?"

"Red please... for me?

And that was all the begging Elizabeth was going to do.

"Fine. But I probably won't be much of a conversationalist."

Elizabeth smiled to herself.

"All you have to do is smile and nod and say yes when she asks you a million times if you've been taking your medicine. You HAVE been taking your medicine, haven't you?"

Red groaned. "Yes, yes, a million times yes! Tell her Dembe..." There was a noise as Red held the phone up into the air. Dembe's voice carried over the line. "He's been taking it. He's been bitching about it, but he's been taking it."

Elizabeth laughed.

"See? I've been a good boy," Red said. "Now be a good girl and get some sleep. I'll be there soon."

Elizabeth couldn't wait.

"Okay. I love you."

"I love you too. Goodnight, Lizzie."

"Goodnight Red." Elizabeth hung up the phone with a smile. Red was coming home. She climbed out of the bed to brush her teeth and complete her nightly ritual of Xing out the days on the calendar by her nightstand with a bright red Sharpie. Two more days... The big circle on the upcoming Friday made her smile every time she saw it. Only two more days... She brushed her teeth, crossed out the Wednesday on her calendar, and climbed into bed, willing herself to fall asleep. It was like waiting for Santa Claus.

Hours later, Elizabeth was awoken by the mattress dipping down under the weight of another person.


Arms circled Elizabeth's waist and pulled her back into a firm body.

"Go back to sleep Lizzie."

"Hmmm," Elizabeth hummed approvingly when Red nuzzled her neck. "How was the flight back?"

"Long," Red said into her neck. "Now go back to sleep."

She closed her eyes obligingly. Red was warm and she was already half asleep.

"Oh Lizzie... I've been meaning to ask you...what are we counting down to?"


"The calendar by your bed," Red explained, drawing patterns onto her stomach with the tips of his fingers. "What's happening Friday?"

Elizabeth smiled, suddenly wide awake.

"Oh nothing. Don't worry about it."