Chapter 1

She didn't know why she was standing there. She didn't even know how she even got here. One moment she was fighting in a stationary car with Tom over her job, over moving states, over everything under the sun. The next she is seeking the only person that stirs such different emotions from her that sometimes they are impossible to keep track of. He pushes her from anger to calm in seconds. From composed to a muddle of confusion in an instant. The only thing she knows and understands in that current moment is that she is seeking solace. She needs the calm in the storm that he provides. She needs to see him breathing and alive.

Elizabeth Keen always knew what she wanted in life. Up until the moment Red Reddington entered her life she knew exactly what she wanted. Who she wanted. She knew who she was. As her life got turned upside down in a number of hours she lost that self-awareness. Now, standing in front of the hospital she didn't know what she wanted. Completely torn.

And here was the crux of the matter – she was torn between what she thought was right and what she craved in that particular moment. She didn't know how long she stood there waiting for something. A sign telling her exactly what to do. When nothing came she closed her eyes and let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. Elizabeth let her emotions tip the scale of conscience. She needed to see him to assure herself that he was still her rock. Steeling herself before she lost all her resolve she stepped through the hospital doors.

After being directed to his room by a nurse who was unsuspecting of the emotional storm raging inside, she stood meters away from the partially opened door. Only then did her disobedient mind drift to the possibility that she might be unwanted. That she might be overstepping all sorts of boundaries that should never be crossed by partners who were thrown together out of necessity and circumstance. While they worked well together now, they were still warming up to each other. Still trying to get a balance in there physical and emotional dynamic.

The start of their partnership was something akin to disaster. Neither wanting to be the first to break. Neither wanting to be the first to show any sign of weakness. Whether it was a sign of trust for the other or to allow any sort of crack in their built up barriers. However as the circumstances regarding their cases being thrust upon them from Reddington became ever evolving, they, and in turn the partnership, had to evolve. The gradual shift was barely noticeable from the outside, but it was ever present in their interactions. They both knew it was there, but neither choose to comment or even acknowledge it. And Reddington sure knew how to throw a curve ball their way. She sometimes though Red was testing her. However she knew better then to waste her breath questioning it. That was one man that did not give away anything without getting something in return.

So here she stood. In the back of her mind she had already memorized the whole hallway outside of his room. From the hospital waiting chairs to the number of rooms on the floor. Chancing a few steps forward towards the room her gaze drifted to the window looking into his room. The view made her freeze instantly. And made her regret coming here in the first place. Mentally cursing herself for being such a fool and trying to make her traitorous legs move her mind mechanically analyzed the scene. Ressler was sitting up in bed – for that she was grateful. She breathed easier knowing he was alive. That's not what gave her pause. What made her insides freeze was him smiling at a woman. Audrey. His Audrey. Ex-fiancé Audrey. She recognized the other woman from his file that she had read when she first started working with him. Convincing herself that she needed to know his background information for the single purpose of finding out what made him tick so that they could effectively work together. She had almost convinced herself. Almost.

Even through his smile, his eyes did give away the uneasiness he felt as he looked up at Audrey, and Elizabeth stood there wondering what exactly happened between them. As she allowed herself the opportunity to examine the possible scenarios she tracked his hand movement to Audrey's hand as he lifted it up. While she couldn't distinguish what was being said and understanding the fact that she really needed to leave the hospital, she still could not make herself move away.

And then it was as if the world began to move in slow motion. She knew Ressler being the agent that he was would realize sooner rather than later that someone was watching him. However in this particular moment in time her mind was so far away that she had not considered that fact. His eyes moved suddenly up to her, as if only now seeing movement in his periphery vision. Recognition flared in his eyes as he took her in. Instantly allowing himself to roam her with his eyes. And while she knew he was just automatically searching for injuries after their ordeal in and out of the box, she could not stop the flutter in her heart from the knowledge that his eyes were on only her for the few seconds.

Audrey, realizing his attention was no longer on her, followed his line of vision until her gaze also landed on Keen. Noticing the woman for the first time and seeing the silent exchange between the two she could not help but feel a stab of jealousy. Donald had never looked at her like that. With a single mindedness that she was the only thing in existence. However as she looked at the other woman standing outside of the hospital room she also saw a desperation that she had never felt for Donald. She had loved him yes, but the woman before her looked like she was barely holding onto her sanity. While she looked completely put together, and from any other perspective she would have looked calm and collected, Audrey could see that the woman had been through hell and back in the last 24 hours. She squeezed Donald's hand one more time, fully aware of the fact that while both of the people in front of her might be oblivious to each others feelings about the other, Donald would be looked after by this woman. As if realizing for the first time that she was still in the room his eyes moved up to her. She smiled down and him, carefully wished him a fast recovery and moved out of the room.

Audrey stepped into the hallway, looked at the woman in question, seemingly trying to decide on something. With a soft resigned sigh and a look of sadness she directed the words "Look after him" at Elizabeth. Three words that shook Elizabeth to her very core.

Hope you enjoyed. There will be more if you guys ask for it. R&R.