Disclaimer: Don't own Numb3rs or the characters. Once again Sammy and Jenny are mine.

Chapter Twenty Nine – 10 Friends Relax

Don knocked on the door and popped his head round. "OK to come in?" he asked.

"Yeah, course." Replied Colby, shifting position slightly in the bed. His movement was extremely restricted thanks to his leg being in traction which meant getting comfortable could be a challenge.

"I'm going to stay with you for a bit, then David is going to come in, if that meets with your approval?"

"I appreciate it, thank you." Colby was humbled by the support once more.

"I have spoken to Sammy." Don chuckled at the look of fear that crossed his junior agent's face. He had seen him face down armed felons, the thought of dealing with the angry paediatrician obviously caused him more concern than that. "Don't look so worried, she is going to pop by tomorrow and see you."

"Can I get some protection?" Asked Colby only partly joking.

"You'll be fine, I promise."

"Right I'm off, I'll see you tomorrow night Colby. Bye son."

"Thanks again Alan." Said Colby as the man got up and left.

Don took his father's place in the chair by the bed. He took the opportunity to fill Colby in on the clean up operation that they had carried out on Xavier's dealers. Caught between a rock and a hard place the man had started singing like a canary on crack. Nobody had been able to locate Jasmine, they didn't believe that she was a threat to Colby given that it was because of her they had found him in time. Charlie would have found him eventually, but it would probably have been too late. Eventually Colby's eyes became heavy, Don seeing this used the controls to lay him flatter. "Get some sleep man, I'll be here."

Like Alan he was up every couple of hours talking Colby down after nightmares. When David took over in the early hours of the morning he had just settled back down after a particularly nasty one which had caused the nursing staff to insist on a sedative. Even with the aid of medication Colby was still restless in his sleep and David was on hand if needed. They could only hope that the nightmares would fade in time.

The next morning Colby was sitting up and eating his breakfast when Sammy arrived. He looked nervously from David to the woman, still remembering how angry she had been when he last saw her.

David stood up and rested his hand on his partner's shoulder. "It's alright man, I'll take all the sharp objects out of the room."

Colby shot him an unamused look, as did Sammy. Deciding that now would be a good time to take his leave he bid them farewell and left them to it.

"I am so sorry. I never meant to lose my temper with Jenny."

"I know that Colby, but she doesn't understand, she is 8 years old."

"There is nothing I can say, I wish I could take it back, but I can't."

Sammy laid her hand on his. "Don told me about the nightmares. I think you're punishing yourself enough."

"How is she?"

"Just fine, kids bounce back quickly. She wanted to come and see you, but I thought it best if I spoke to you first. That can't happen again."

"It won't, I promise. Please bring her in again."

"OK, but I'm going to leave it a bit longer. I want to make sure you're strong enough to cope with a chattering little girl, believe me she's got even more to tell you now."

"Understood." The conversation then turned to other subjects and the pair relaxed.

Two weeks later Colby got the news he had been so desperately waiting for, he was allowed to have the frame off, which would mean he would be able to get out of bed. His muscles had become weak from laying around, but he was ready to start therapy and was fully prepared to throw himself into it whole heartedly.

The very next day the frame was removed and though sore he had his first session. It was lengthy and he was given a long list of exercises for both legs and his arm, but he was determined to get back on his feet quickly.

Thanks to Don, Megan, Liz, David, Alan, Charlie and Sammy, he was never alone. He was still having nightmares but they were getting more manageable, though Sammy still hadn't allowed Jenny in to see him again, he had spoken to her on the phone to apologise. Like most children she was very forgiving and chatted away happily.

He had just finished another gruelling therapy session, he had only been out of traction a few days, but his therapist was happy with his progress and had already seen some improvement in his strength. He collapsed back onto his pillows, the sessions were leaving him exhausted. There was a knock on the door, David had been sitting with him but had gone for something to eat whilst he had the therapy, he assumed it was him returning. "Yeah." Colby said. The door opened but it wasn't David, it was Jenny.

"Thought you could do with a bit of a boost after your session." Remarked Sammy from behind her. "What better than a visit from an energetic 8 year old?" She smiled.

Jenny approached the bed cautiously. "Hey Jenny, you want to sit up on the bed?" Colby asked. She looked at her Mom who nodded and she clambered up to sit next to him. "Tell me all you've been up to then."

Jenny happily chattered away, telling him about her school play, they were doing a modern day version of Cinderella, she was very excited because she was playing one of the ugly sisters.

"How can that be?" He asked. "You're not ugly."

"They put stick on warts on me, it's cool."

"Wow. When is it? If I'm outta here I want to come and see it."

"It's not for a few weeks yet. Will you really come?" She asked, pleased.

"If I can get the doctors to release me by then, you bet."

Sammy was happy to duck out and leave them for a bit, she could tell that Colby wouldn't upset her daughter again. She went in search of David in the hospital cafeteria, where she filled him in on the play and Colby's determination to be fit enough to attend.

"Well that will be a good incentive to keep him going with the physical therapy."

"That was the plan."
"Sneaky!"

"I spend too much time with all of you!" She replied.

"Shall we go back up?"

Sammy looked at her watch. "Yeah, I think she's probably talked his ear off by now."

When they got back to the room they exchanged amused glances, both Colby and Jenny were fast asleep.

"Seems a shame to wake them. I'll stay if you want to get off."

"That's OK, I can stay too, keep you company."

They both took a seat in the room and carried on a whispered conversation so as not to disturb the sleeping pair. Before they knew it three hours had passed.

"Oh, look at the time, I had better wake her, she won't sleep tonight. Need to get her dinner as well."

"He hasn't had any nightmares and he's been asleep more than 3 hours."

"That's progress. I guess her visit helped him relax."

"Lets hope it continues."

Sammy got up and gently shook Jenny awake. Colby stirred and opened sleepy eyes, he smiled at Jenny and gently planted a kiss on her forehead. "Drop by again soon sweetie."

"Bye Colby." She waved over her mother's shoulder as she carried the sleepy child out.

The nightmares had finally stopped. After falling asleep with Jenny they were less frequent, now he could spend the night alone without waking in a cold sweat. He had told his friends that they no longer needed to spend the night, they all saw this as a positive step in his long road to recovery.

He had spent the last 2 weeks bugging his physical therapist about being able to leave the hospital so he could go to Jenny's play, which was now only a week away. The therapist wasn't budging, he was not releasing Colby from the hospital until he could get about on crutches unaided. Once he was doing this they would discuss it, until then he was going nowhere.

Unbeknownst to the therapist Colby had been doing extra exercises on his own, not so much that he overdid things, but enough to speed up his recovery. The beginning of the third week a very smug Colby managed the length of the hospital corridor on his crutches, unaided, he then turned to his therapist. "Can I get out of here now?"

"Not yet, I have to discuss it with your doctors. We need to assess your home for suitability as well."

At this Colby's heart sank, no way were they going to let him out to return to his apartment building, it had no lift. It was a subdued Colby that returned to his room, he sat in a chair staring out at the streets of LA below. He was completely lost in thought when Alan and Charlie entered the room.

"Now there is a man with something on his mind. What's up?" Asked Alan.

"Hey guys. Nothing much."

"Come on man, you can tell us."

"I managed to walk the length of the corridor on crutches, unaided today."
"That's great news, why the long face?"

"I was told they would think about releasing me when I could get about on my own, but the therapist just told me that they will need to assess my apartment for suitability first. With no lift I can't see them letting me out." He sighed.

Alan and Charlie exchanged a look that went unnoticed by the despondent Colby. "We have a proposal that may help with that." Stated Charlie.

"Going to install a lift in my building?"

"No, we want you to come and stay with us. We can put you in the solarium, I know there are still stairs, but they're much more manageable than the ones at your apartment."

"Really? You mean it?"

"Charlie and I have discussed it and we would be happy to have you stay until you can manage on your own."

"Man, I dunno what to say."

"How about yes?"

"Yes, most definitely yes, thank you."

"I will go and discuss the arrangements with your doctor and therapist." Alan said before leaving.

"Don knows about this doesn't he?"
"Of course."

"He doesn't mind?"
"Not at all, he encouraged it, he thinks he might get you back to work quicker if you're out of here, apparently the paperwork is building up with one less team member."

Colby chuckled at that. "He thinks I'll help with that?!"

"Go figure. Perhaps he plans to get you back whilst your still on crutches so he can take 'em away to stop you leaving your desk!"

That had them both laughing. It was good to laugh, thought Colby.

The following week Colby bid a happy farewell to all the hospital staff and was escorted from the premises by Alan, who then drove him to Charlie's house. After an assessment and a few minor changes to the layout of the rooms he had got the green light to stay at the Craftsman. The therapist had spent the last week showing him how to traverse the stairs safely. It would be another few weeks before he was walking without the crutches, but the therapist would continue seeing him on a regular basis until he had his full mobility back. Considering that there was a time when everyone had thought he wouldn't even survive he had made a remarkable recovery. When he was asked about it by one of the nurses he simply told her that it was all down to the support network he had, there was no better medicine than friends.

The first night he was out was the same as Jenny's play. Sammy had got tickets for everyone, including Amita and Larry. Don came by in his SUV to pick up Colby, Alan and Charlie, he thought that it would be easier for the injured agent to get in and out of, plus he could keep an eye on him and call time if it got too much.

Colby slowly made his way into the school hall and dissolved into laughter as he saw the seats they were expected to sit on.

"If I don't break it then I'll not be able to get up." The seat was from the children's classrooms which meant they were small and low to the floor.

Sammy hurried over to greet the men, knowing that Colby would struggle with the seating, she had arranged for them to sit to one side and retrieved one of the teachers chairs for him to use. He smiled at her gratefully, he didn't want to humiliate himself by falling off a chair.

David, Megan, Larry, Liz and Amita were already there. Taking their seats they waited for the play to begin. Being that the play was being performed by a bunch of children it had the expected hiccups, wardrobe malfunctions and lines forgotten, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and they gave a standing ovation at the end.

A very excited Jenny came running out when they had finished. She managed to stop short as she barrelled towards Colby, remembering that he was still unsteady on his feet.

"Hiya sweetie, you were just fabulous dahling." He smiled down at her.

"Did you think so? Really?"

"Absolutely." The others nodded in agreement.

"Right, who is up for a BBQ at ours?" Asked Charlie.

"Oh no, we couldn't." Said Sammy.
"Course you can, we've already bought the food." Chipped in Alan, he loved having people over.

"Please Mommy?" Jenny looked at her Mom with large blue eyes, Sammy sighed and caved in.

Everyone was persuaded and they got into their cars and drove to the house, Sammy paused to see if Colby needed any help, but he was quite adept with the crutches as long as nobody knocked into him.

Colby made his way through the house to the back garden, Jenny walked with him, not leaving his side, if they were together she was his constant companion, reining in her own natural exuberance. He sat down in one of the chairs in the garden with a sigh. Don looked at him through narrowed eyes, something that didn't go unnoticed by his ever watchful father.

"He's alright Donnie." He whispered.

"I'm just concerned about him, that's all."

"I understand that, but you need to let him decide if and when he's had enough. He'll tell you, I promise."

"How do you know?"

"It's part of the deal we have. He'll tell someone when he's tiring. I'm not carrying him up those stairs." He winked at his eldest before going and rescuing the grill from his youngest, Charlie was a great mathematician but wasn't so good at the BBQ.

Everyone sat enjoying the balmy LA evening. Jenny sat on Colby's lap careful not to hurt him. Sammy had protested when she climbed up, but was assured that she wasn't causing him any pain. He nestled her against his chest as she showed him a book she had brought with her. Putting his head down to hers he started reading it with her, eventually though, as much as she wanted to stay with him she was getting restless. David noticed and called out. "Jenny, why don't you come and practice some basketball, by the time Colby's off his crutches we'll have you ready to beat him at one on one."

She looked at Colby and when he nodded and smiled she carefully climbed from his lap and ran to join David until dinner was ready. They returned to the table laughing and ready to eat.

Don made sure that everyone had a drink, Colby joined Jenny with Orange juice, he was still on pain meds and wasn't allowed to drink alcohol. When everyone was finished Colby cleared his throat.

"I'd like to say something." Silence descended on the small group as they turned their attention to him. "I simply wanted to say thank you for your support these past months. I wouldn't be here without you." He looked round the group and lifted his glass. "To relaxing with friends and family."

The others raised their glasses, happy in the knowledge that Colby was well on his way to a full recovery and he would rejoin the team in due course.

THE END!

There ya go. That's it. All done. I want to say thank you for your alerts and reviews. (Especially my very first reviewer - NaggingCube, without whom I may just have given up, the feedback kept me going!) I'm currently working on another story and hope that I will be able to post it soon. I will try to curtail the Colby whumping in the next one! Hopefully work will be going a bit smoother and he won't have to suffer!