Liz was laying on her side staring at the one lamp that lit her current bedroom. It wasn't really necessary anymore because the sun was coming up, but she took comfort in it anyways.
It reminded her of the lamp that sat on the table at Don's bedside. Except it was about the only thing in that room that reminded her of his place. His room was much nicer than this one and much bigger. His bed itself was huge, the biggest size they made. It had even felt huge with his large body sprawled out in it. Though, to be fair, in most of her memories he was sprawled out beneath her.
God she missed him. That was the worst part of all this she decided. She could handle the running and the hiding. The life of a criminal. But she missed him. And Agnes.
She had started out with Agnes but it just wasn't safe enough. So, she'd sent Agnes back to him. Literally had her delivered to his apartment one night. After that she didn't know much. Only what she learned on her calls with him and with her daughter. She didn't know how things were going but she knew Don and she knew Agnes was safe.
She sounded happy too, when Liz called her, happier than Don himself. He didn't sound happy at all lately. Every time she called him he sounded less happy then the time before. He didn't understand. He'd flat out admitted as much the last time they talked. Or he talked anyway.
She didn't answer his calls anymore. And she hadn't met him at the park, even though she had wanted to with every cell in her body. She didn't know how to talk to him or see him without blurting out the one thing that had become her every other thought.
He had also said he missed her. He said 'we' but she knew that what he really meant was 'I'. 'I miss you'. 'I want you to come home'. He was sad, she could hear it and she felt terrible. She was ruining his life - asking more than he had to give. She was well aware of the fact that he was in love with her. Their first kiss had told her that much. And the one wonderful night they'd had together had eradicated any tiny thought otherwise. He didn't say it, he knew he couldn't, but he felt it. And she had felt him feel it. Had seen it in his eyes, in the taunt muscles of his back and his arms, in his mannerisms, his pain, and his devotion. And now she watched from the side lines as he was lying and meeting in secret and slowly destroying his career for her. He couldn't stop himself.
She had to wrap this up. Had to get back to him and Agnes. She was glad that they had each other at least. Even if it wasn't easy at first. She was glad Agnes had someone who cared. Someone who would sacrifice for her the way he did for her mother. And she was glad that Ressler had a chance to learn what it felt like to be a parent - a father. He needed the practice, she thought, as her hand fell to her slightly swollen belly where his child grew.
She shifted in bed and was surprised to hear her bedroom door open. The only few people in her house were only associates. Inferior ones at that. And the only one home now was -
"Skip? What are you doing here?" She sat up, careful to make sure her shirt hung lose and hid the tiny curve of her belly. Skip didn't know - nobody did. He gave her crap enough just for sticking up for Ressler, she didn't think it wise to tell him she was carrying his baby.
"No dearie" came a rough voice and Liz was shocked. It wasn't Skip.
"Kate?" she asked, hardly believing her eyes. "I thought you were dead?"
"Oh you know me" said Kate Kaplin. "Nothing can kill me. Including the surface tension of water."
"Well, what are you doing here?"
"I heard through the low and black grapevine that you were taking down Raymond. I needed in."
Liz nodded. A few weeks ago she would have been up and jumping for joy, but she wasn't getting pleasure from the idea anymore. She was beginning to wonder if her fight would ever be worth it.
"Well, what's got you so down?" asked Kate, taking a seat beside her on the bed.
"I'm second-guessing myself" said Liz. She was surprised how easy it was to talk to her childhood nanny. "And I'm homesick."
"Missing Agnes?" asked Kate. "I heard she's with your partner."
"Yah" said Liz, "and him."
"Who? Your partner?"
"Ressler, wasn't it? The pretty-faced ginger."
"Yah" said Liz, her hand falling instinctively to cradle their unborn baby in her belly at the mention of his name. She caught herself half way down and made a show of scratching an imaginary itch instead. "I fell in love with him since you were last here."
"That's no surprise, honey. I always thought there was something there."
"Yah, well I slept with him" said Liz, straight out. "The night before I ran away."
"And?" asked Kate. "It wasn't what you thought it would be? Or it was better and you can't forget?"
"It was better than better" said Liz. "It was the best night of my life. And I can't forget. I'll never be able to forget him."
"Because he's a good man?" asked Kate. "I always thought he was as beautiful on the inside as the out."
"He is" said Liz with a small smile. "But that's not what I meant."
"He might be gone but he's left his child in my belly. I'm carrying him inside of me and it's consuming my entire being. It's all I can think about." Now she did let her hand fall to her belly and settle there. "He's all I can feel. His innocent child - tiny and perfect, nestled inside my own body. Beautiful as his father and so completely dependant on me. So vulnerable. And Don - out there. Sitting at home. Blissfully unaware that he's being denied his child. All because of choices I'm making for the both of them."
"Oh honey" said Kate. "Come here." She pulled Liz into her arms and Liz fell against her, grateful. "I can't imagine. I never got to carry the child of the man I loved. I don't know what that's like."
"It's amazing" said Liz. "And heartbreaking. Takes you down, makes you feel small at the wonder of it. How a tiny life can grow there. Perfect, unblemished by all the terrible things I've done. So pure, even if it grows in the ugliest spot. I can feel it now - a small weight in my womb. I feel full somehow - like I did that night when he was in me. And these last few days - the tiniest flutters. Stretching my insides, like his throbbing. It's like he's here with me - in me - constantly. But he's not." She was quiet for a minute. "He's given me a child, given both of us a child, and he has no idea."
"He's entrusted you with a child" said Kate in her ear. "And you gave him one in return." She was clearly meaning Agnes.
"But I mean to give him this one" said Liz. "I need to go back. I need to see him. See him cry with joy when he learns of it's existence. See him meet his child through the skin of my belly. Feel him inside me again. The warmth and the security of his arms as he whispers 'I love you'. See him hold the babe in his huge freckled arms. So tiny compared to his muscles." She could picture it already in her minds eye - the tiny head of red hair cradled in the palm of his one hand. "He deserves his baby. Deserves me to love him the way I know he does me. Deserves the family he's created, the life that comes with it." She sat up, pulling away from Kate and turning to face her, a new conviction flowing through her veins. "Taking down Reddington used to be the most important thing in my life. But it's not anymore."
Kate nodded. "Priorities change Liz. It's as it should be."
"I'm going back" said Liz, glad now more than ever that Kate had walked through the door as if in answer to her prayers. "Skip will fill you in on everything we've done when he gets up. I'm going back for Don, doing this for him and his child." She got out of bed and bent over with a hand on her belly for the suitcase that held her clothes. It was always packed. "Will you do this for me?" she asked as she rose again.
"Of course" said Kate, getting to her feet. "That love you feel for your baby" she said, her hand meeting Liz's on top of the swell of the child. "I feel it for you. You're my baby Elizabeth. Have been since you were young."
"Thank-you" said Liz, letting the tears she had been holding back all morning fall. "Thank-you so much."
"Go" said Kate. "Go find him."
And Liz walked out of the room and out of her life, right into his.
He wasn't hard to find, it was early yet and he was at home sleeping. She knocked on his door and heard his sleepy shuffle coming up the hall to answer. But he threw open the door and embraced her with waiting arms - just as she had known he would.