I love Charlie and Briggs so I will probably do another story following last nights episode at some point, but I want to do this one first. Hope you like it.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Charlie woke up and for several moments she was confused. The world seemed very strange as if she had been living in the bottom of a snow globe and somebody had shaken everything up. She was in her own room, but she could not remember how she had gotten there. She felt tired and achy and was contemplating just trying to go back to sleep, but then her stomach rolled and felt a wave a nausea wash over her.
Standing up she walked quickly to the bathroom. She barely made it in time before she found herself emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet bowl. She waited a minute or two before flushing the toilet and rocking backwards to sit on the cold tile floor.
"Hey," a voice said gently.
She glanced towards the source of the noise. Briggs was kneeling next to her on the tile floor, looking slightly concerned. She was not sure how she had not noticed him before because she suddenly realized that one of his hands was holding her hair back out of her face.
"Hey," she said, a little weakly.
"How are you doing?" he asked.
"I feel like crap," she told him. "Can I have a glass of water?" He nodded and stood up so he could fill a glass from the counter; then he sat back down on the floor. "Thanks," she said taking the glass.
It was coming back to her. She was starting to make sense of what had happened and was also realizing that she did not want to. She remembered the operation and the heroin and Whistler. She remembered all of it.
"I'm done as an agent," she said looking at him, "Aren't I?"
"No," he told her, "We're the only two people who know what was in that needle. I told Johnny and Paige it was a slight of hand. You switched needles as you went to inject yourself."
"They bought that?" she asked.
"They didn't want to have to consider the alternative," he said quietly.
Charlie hung her head in shame. "I'm sorry," she told him, "I've messed everything up."
"Hey now," he told her, "you haven't messed anything up, you probably saved the operation, but I don't care about any of that right now." He reached out and took one of her hands. "You scared me," he admitted, "that needle could have killed you."
She looked at him for a minute. She was touched by his concern, but there was something else nagging at her mind. Suddenly she realized what it was. "Whistler," she said looking up at him.
"His death was not your fault Charlie," he tried to reassure her, but he could see the tears welling up in her eyes.
"But if I hadn't asked him to he wouldn't have been there," she said, "and the last thing I said to him—" She could not finish. Tears began to roll down her checks as sobs wracked her body.
Without hesitating, Briggs pulled her into his arms, letting her nestle her face in his shoulder and sob into his shirt. It was rare to see Charlie cry, and this was the first time in a long time. For a while, they just sat there while Charlie cried, and Briggs held her and stroked her long brown hair.
If it had been anybody else Briggs would have watched from a distance and let others do the caretaking. Of course if it were anybody else they would be packing their bags and leaving Graceland as soon as possible. However, this was Charlie, and that made it different. He wanted to be there for her, and he wanted, he needed, to make sure that she was okay.
Finally she stopped crying, and she looked up at him a little embarrassed. "I'm sorry," she told him.
"Don't be," he replied, "You've had a rough twenty-four hours." He paused for a moment. "Do you want to go back in the other room?" he asked.
Charlie nodded, and Briggs helped her to her feet. Together they walked back into Charlie's bedroom. She sat down on the edge of her bed, and Briggs sat beside her. Her gaze flitted over the other pieces of furniture in the room, and she realized that the pillows on her couch were askew and a blanket lay in a crumpled heap on the floor beside it.
"Did you sleep on my couch?" she asked Briggs.
"I wasn't leaving you alone last night," he replied, "I needed to make sure were okay."
"Thank you," she said looking up at him.
"Of course," he told her.
There was silence for a little while, but it was a companionable one. They knew each other well enough to understand what the other was thinking without either one ever speaking.
"I shouldn't have done it," she said.
"No," he agreed, "you shouldn't have, but I understand why you did."
"I was upset about Whistler," she told him, unsure whether she was explaining it to herself or to him, "I didn't want him to have died for nothing."
"I know," he told her.
There was another pause. "This means I have to leave Graceland doesn't it?" she asked.
"No," he replied, shaking his head. Instinctively he reached out and took her hand in his again.
"You'd send anybody else packing for doing this," she pointed out.
"I would," he agreed, "but you're not anybody else. I know you Charlie, and I know that wasn't part of a pattern. That was a spur of the moment decision to save an operation. You are a good agent, and we need you here."
There were words Briggs left unspoken. While it was true that the house need her, it was also true the he would not be able to take life at Graceland without her. They had come in together and been through a lot since then. He was not going to lose her. He needed her.
"Thank you," she said again.
"Yeah," he replied, pausing for a moment. "Promise me something."
"What?" she asked looking at him.
"Promise me you won't do something like that again," he said.
He met her gaze. She could tell he was earnest, but she shook her head. "We've both made that promise to each other before," she reminded him, "and we've both broken it. I'm not making it again because I'm not sure I can keep it, and I don't want to break another promise to you."
Briggs nodded and squeezed her hand. He knew she was right. They both pushed the boundaries harder than they should sometime, but that was a decision that had been made a long time ago. He supposed that it really would not matter if she had made the promise because neither one of them would have really believed it.
Charlie always gave it everything she had, and sometimes she pushed too hard. She took risks, and sometimes they got her into trouble. There was no taming her. That was just who she was, for better and for worse, and that was part of why he loved her.
So what do you think? I was rather pleased with this one. Please review.