WHO NEEDS SLEEP

Well heres my first ever Stephanie Plum fan fic…babe fic all the way.

I'm not sure when it's placed, after Hard Eight. Ranger has sent her back to Morelli and he'd made her choose again between work and him. She chose work. Probably near the end of a book where the bad guys are at their worst, and naturally Steph is in danger. Song is "who needs sleep' by the Barenaked ladies. Changed one line to suite our Ranger.

"Damn Joe, Damn Ranger, Damn my life!" I exclaimed as I threw my pocket book on the table. I opened the fridge to find nothing.

"Urgh, after a night like tonight I don't even have comfort food!" I looked over to my room mate Rex. Walking up I tapped on his aquarium and saw his little hamster butt shuffle further in. "Sorry Rex, I'm a poor Hamster mother." Willing tears to stay away I dove into the shower. Crawling into a loose Tee and Scooby shorts I clambered into bed. "Ok, Stephanie. You can cry now," I told myself.

Now I lay me down not to sleep
I just get tangled in the sheets

I growled in frustration. Tears streaming down my face. My sobs echoing around my empty apartment. "Damn Morelli. Ultimatum my ass…God it's hot in here" I rolled around, turned on the bedside light and claiming my thinking position.

I swim in sweat three inches deep
I just lay back and claim defeat

"Damn men…" I muttered. "What were they thinking? 'Choose, work? Or me?' what was Morelli thinking? He should know better than to give me orders…I don't do orders. I'm a Burg." Sighing I thrashed about some more until I was looking out the window. It was really raining by now. Wind whipping it up basically horizontally against my fire escape window. "And Ranger…he told me to go BACK to Morelli!" I flopped back onto my bed spread eagle style. "Look where that ended…"

"You need to repair your relationship with Morelli." Ranger had told me…

"My life doesn't lend its self into relationships."

He may as well have told me I was merely entertainment...wait he had!

Chapter read and lesson learned
I turned the lights off while she burned

I sighed and flipped over turning off my light. It was late...really late. Rolling back over a black object caught my eye… wearily I got up. Went into the kitchen, retrieving my gun from my cookie jar and looked out the window. Rangeman.

So while she's three hundred degrees
I throw the sheets off and I freeze

Returning the gun back to the cookie jar I headed back to bed. Falling into a fitful sleep, why did I have to have the most confusing men in Trenton in my life?

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep

My Spidey senses tingled me awake.

I countdown, I look around

I cast my eyes wearily over to my doorway. Sure enough there he stood. Possibly the most confusing man in Trenton and very likely on this planet. Ranger.

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it

I rolled over once more onto my back and simply took him in. he looked to be freezing despite the obvious heat in this apartment. And no wonder, his hair was dripping wet, he looked so…human. So vulnerable. But still just as confusing. He is bat man.

Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for

"Babe."

I sat up as he perched on the side of my bed. Scanning my eyes. For what I was unsure but I felt exposed. He took in my tear streaked face, hell hair and took a steady hand to my face. Wiping away the tears.

Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting

I know I should be content with Morelli and his little Burg life but Ranger stirred something in me that I couldn't ignore.

"Babe, I'm sorry…" wait, sorry? What for? What was Ranger on about "I told you to go back, I pushed you away and you got hurt. I promised myself I'd never let anything hurt you. I failed."

This guy's been awake
since the Second World War

"Ranger," I began placing my hand on his which was still caressing my face. "You weren't to know. Me and Joe…" I stopped and looked at his face, eyes dark, serious. No smile tugging at his mouth. Pure sorrow.

"Joe and I" I corrected myself, "We love each other that's for sure." Wait, was that a frown? I could have sworn I saw hurt flash across his eyes there for a moment. But Bat man doesn't have feelings. Does he? I continued on, "but we're not IN love." Wait, was that hope this time? Boy must I need sleep.

My hands are locked up tight in fists
My mind is racing, filled with lists

He clutched the side of my face tighter and brought his other arm around my waist. "Ranger…you don't do relationships, remember?"

He ducked his head for a brief moment before bringing it back up again, a small smile playing across his face. "Babe, there was a lot of things I don't do."

of things to do and things I've done
Another sleepless night's begun

I looked at him, confused. What was this man getting at? It better be a good reason coz boy do I need sleep. I've got a bunch of crazed stalkers after me, again. I need to be aware of what I'm stuffing up tomorrow. "But some have changed, I never used to have an entertainment account…" he flashed me a 200 watt smile. I had to laugh. A while ago he joked about how he could afford all of the hours and cars he spent on me, rumour has it he puts it under entertainment. Apparently he was telling the truth.

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats

My heart started beating way too fast for my liking. What was he on about?

"Babe?" he was enjoying this, he was…wait was he laughing?

"Do I amuse you Manoso?" ohh I pulled out a wild card, I never call him Manoso. His smile faded a little but still kept the room alight.

"Of course you do, among other things…" I blushed all shades of red.

The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep

I heard scraping at my door. Ranger was up in a flash, gun in hand standing beside my door ready to ambush whoever had just breeched my apartment. Which going by the ever growing list could be anyone. The door squeaked open…

I countdown, I look around

"Joe?"

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it

I saw dots dancing in front of my eyes. What was that in his hand? Wait was that…a gun?

Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for

Joe took one long look at me. Eyes dark, not bedroom but something else I couldn't quite place. Then he lifted the gun.

Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting

"Ranger?" I muttered. There was a bang, and my world went black. Again. I really do this too often.

This guy's been awake
since the Second World War

A voice called to me, a face started swimming into vision. Wait I knew that voice. "Ranger?"

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it

"Babe, speak to me? Babe?" I looked up at him, worry lines creased around his eyes. Seemed to be getting a lot of those lately too. "What happened. Where's Joe?" I tried to sit back only to have Ranger forcibly push me back. Just as well,

I could feel my world tilting…

Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for

"Babe, I'm sorry." That seemed to be tonight's word of choice. I looked past Ranger to see the ME's rolling a body bag into the ambulance. Before Ranger could stop me I was up and running. No. this couldn't be. Joe? My Morelli? My throat felt like a tennis ball had been shoved down it and I suddenly realised I was crying again, big streamy gushy crying. Arms embraced me from behind. Ranger.

Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting

I turned around and started beating against his chest. Before the stabbing pain in my shoulder took hold, I would have fallen to the ground if it weren't for Rangers life like grip on me. Wait my shoulder was sore? Really sore? I know this feeling…I looked down at my shoulder and saw for the first time that my shirt had been replaced by rangers windbreaker. I felt down inside the shirt and felt gauze and padding. I looked into Rangers eyes. Was it me or were they watering?

This guy's been awake
since the Second World War

"Babe?" his eyes searched mine, forgiveness? Wait why do I need to forgive him again? Then it all came back to me. The caressing, the noise, Joe…the gun.

There's so much joy in life,
so many pleasures all around

The dots came back and pots clanged I doubled over placing my head between my legs. "Babe, I…"

"No!" I cut him off… "You didn't…you couldn't. how could you Ranger?!"

But the pleasure of insomnia
is one I've never found

I looked up at him, searching. Did he feel remorse? "You killed him…didn't you?"

With all life has to offer,
there's so much to be enjoyed

I couldn't believe it. I was just with Joe earlier. Enjoying Pino's and beer. Bob on the couch with us eating the pizza box, cheaper than a garbage disposal that dog is. Wait what will happen to Bob now? He's orphaned!

But the pleasures of insomnia
are ones I can't avoid

"Go…" I told Ranger. He didn't budge. "GO!" I yelled causing all the ME's and I noticed Carl and Big Dog too were now here and looking at us. "Babe?" his eyes looked into me one last time before he turned and walked away.

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats

I fell to the ground, "Joe" I murmured, before being led into the waiting ambulance by Carl.

The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep

I'd been in the hospital for three days now. No Ranger. No Tank. Only Family and Lula and Connie. Even Vinnie stopped by, only to tell me to take as long as I wanted. Mum was ironing 24/7 now and Grandma had for once, yelled and aimed her 'big boy' at anyone who dare mention what happened near her or to her. Or so Valerie told me.

There was a nock at my door. Eyes bloodshot from tears, and little to no sleep in the few days. I could barely tell who it was, the colour gave it away.

I countdown, I look around

Ranger.

Hala Hala Hala

I lay back in the bed, staring at the white ceiling. "Babe…"

"Go away." He took a step closer.

"I told you to leave Manoso." Using his name for authority rather than playfulness this time. I looked to him. His jaw tightened. Bags clearly visable under his eyes.

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it

"Babe you can't…"
"You killed him Ranger! You killed Joe!" I hadn't realised it until I saw Ranger take a tentative step back but I was yelling, full on hysterical yelling. Tears were steadily making their way down my face onto the sheets below.

Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for

His eyes darkened and took a deep breath before speaking. Obviously in deep turmoil. "He shot you babe…I…I had to."

"Crap," I spat. Knowing all too well what had really happened. And that he was indeed right. But I couldn't face that. I couldn't. Joe couldn't have tried to kill me would he?

Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting

I broke down. Not that I hadn't cried before now but it hadn't really dawned upon me. Joe tried to kill his cupcake…Warm arms embraced me as I cried into his muscular pained on black Tee. "You'll always be his cupcake." Ranger muttered into my ear.

I have no idea how long we were like that but I finally leant back. "Thanks Manoso, but you should go now" He flinched at the name.

"Babe?"

"Go…Ranger. I…I don't want to see you." The look of pain was obvious to anyone across his face as he left. What had I done? What had he done?

This guy's been awake
since the Second World War

Well what do you all think?it didn't come out with what I origionally wanted..was just gonna be ranger admitting how he loved her and wanted to try etc but then this spewed forth…first SP so let me know if I portrayed it right. And if I should do another chap? Was gonan be a once off but kinda left it open. Song doesn't suite is as much so not all that happy but please let me know your thoughts.

R&R!

Chibi Babe