Let the Walls Come Down

A. Howard

A/N: Just a little missing scene thought up for Deadly Maneuvers, a Season 2 gem of an episode...

Poor Hannibal!

Tawnia could only watch as he lay clutching his midsection in agony on the motel room bed, the poison he unknowingly ingested coursing through his stomach, clenching his muscles into a tight ball of absolute misery. All he could manage was to curl up in the fetal position, occasionally letting a groan escape when the pain exceeded even his high tolerance.

"Maggie," he longingly murmured.

But Doctor Sullivan had just left a few moments ago, back to her office that was almost an hour away for the antidote to cure him. It was only Tawnia now, left with the task of consoling a man she'd never thought would ever need consoling. She soon realized this was easier said than done; as the only thing that seemed to somewhat help was a cold, wet washcloth freshly wrung in the bathroom sink.

"She'll be right back, Hannibal. I'm here." She tried to soothe him best she could, wiping away the sweat pouring from his brow. "Try to be strong, this'll all be over soon."

"Not... soon... enough." Between the frequent bouts of cramping, Hannibal suddenly found himself feeling quite vulnerable. He wasn't used to this at all, lying helplessly, like an invalid. Normally, he could put on the "invincible" act anytime he saw fit, and it was always convincing. This time, however, the poison crumbled his tough, thick wall into pieces.

"Thanks, kid." He struggled to talk through the pain between gasps. "Don't know... what I would've... done without you... this time."

"It's no problem at all, Hannibal." She brushed away his silvery hair that'd plastered itself against his sweaty forehead. "You shouldn't have to go through this all alone."

Maybe it was the pain talking. Or maybe it was the thought that he would be seeing that wonderful, beautiful doctor again, whom he adored. He didn't know what it was, but he finally admitted the one thing he never thought would ever leave his lips.

"I'm glad you're here, Tawnia."

And for the first time, she truly felt like she was finally one of them. One of the team. "Give it time," Amy Allen had once told her - and she'd been right, all along.

"Thanks, Hannibal, me too." With a genuine smile, Tawnia leaned over and gently kissed his forehead before pressing the cloth to it once again.

"Hey kid?"

She leaned over and gently touched his cheek, still smiling proudly. "Yeah?"

"I was just wondering..." The pain left his blue eyes long enough for a sparkle of familiar jazz to shine through. "Did you bring a camera?"

*** FINI ***