A/N: I don't own shit. I wrote this at like 4am so it probably sucks but just read it anyways. Minor spoilers based on the promo for 1x06. Reviews appreciated but I understand if you're lazy, it's OK.

Lizzie couldn't understand why she was running to him. Why in the depths of her stomach and her heart she had this uncanny feeling that Red was a man she could trust. He was a man who would risk his life to keep her safe. Kill to keep her alive. Despite that, she still didn't trust him. Not completely. She couldn't.

How can you ever really trust a monster?

They always turn on you in the end. She was afraid of being used, of letting him manipulate her just like she had said he would try to do. She hated to admit it was working. The walls she had built were gradually slipping.

She found herself grateful for the fragments of truth he gave her, cryptic as they seemed to be. She relied on those truths, clung to them desperately. The day she found that box, everything changed. To find out he had been having an affair was an extra slap in the face. She confronted Tom and he denied everything, of course.

He was such a good actor and she wished she believed him, but earlier that day when Red's eyes had bore into hers with such grave sincerity that it sent chills down her spine, she knew he wasn't the one that was lying to her.

She had heard thunder in the distance as Tom insisted on his innocence and suddenly Liz found herself fighting back tears as she realized the feeling was gone. Turning to run out the door, she had ignored the sound of his voice calling out for her to come back. She had kept running until she was outside, needing to get to her car, not caring if she got wet from the rain that had begun to fall while she was inside. She found herself driving back the way she came, tears finally finally spilling over as she realized she was desperate for the comfort of the one person that wouldn't lie to her. The one person she could trust right now.

When she arrived, Djembe opened the door and invited her inside before she even had a chance to knock. She realized Red was probably already aware she had come. Had he been expecting her to return? The thought embarrassed her and she could feel heat rise to her cheeks but she brushed off the feeling and walked inside with false austerity on her face. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the entryway mirror, hair wet from the rain and mascara smeared from crying but she couldn't bring herself to care.

"I can't tell you how glad I am you decided to come back."

She turned around and saw him standing there. Red. The man who started it all. The man who had changed her life forever. Their eyes met and she could feel her walls collapsing as she started crying again, ugly wracking sobs that threatened to shatter her, to break her from within. Suddenly he was there, his arms were around her, warm and comforting, and she clung to him. She needed this. She needed him.

"It's alright, Lizzie. I'm here. You're safe now" He whispered in her ear as he stroked her hair. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, trying to regain her composure. She tried to remember who he was. He was a criminal. She began to pull away, embarrassed, but he pulled her back and she didn't fight it. She told herself she was cold and he was warm and she felt safe, despite her better judgement.

She would allow herself to be comforted by a monster, just this once.

"All I want is someone to rely on." she whispers, hating how weak her voice sounds. He chuckles and pushes her away slightly so he can look at her, hands remaining on her shoulders as his eyes look her up and down slowly before landing on her own, his gaze dark and intense. It almost scares her.

"You already have that, sweetheart."

Before Liz can respond his mouth is on hers and she hates that it doesn't feel wrong like she thought it might. Not that she's ever thought about it. She closes her eyes and leans into his kiss, and she can feel him smile against her mouth. He wasn't expecting this reaction. Neither was she, honestly. She reaches out, gently holding his face between her hands and suddenly his tongue is begging entrance into her mouth. She allows it, enjoying the feeling far more than she'd ever willingly admit. She feels a warmth building in the pit of her stomach that threatens to move lower if she doesn't stop this now. She pushes him away, face red with the realization of what just occurred.

"If you only believe one thing, Lizzie, I want you to believe this. I want you to know that you can rely on me. I will always do whatever I need to in order to keep you safe. I will protect you, no matter the cost. I may not be what you want, but you have me." She looked in his eyes and knew that he wasn't lying. She knew it from experience. But why? She still couldn't understand why he would go so far.

"All of this because of my father?" she asked, confusion evident in her tone.

He laughed uproariously, shaking his head back and forth.

"That's only part of it. Honestly, Lizzie, I thought I had made my feelings obvious just now." he smiled ruefully and her eyes widened with understanding. Raymond Reddington. The concierge of crime was...

"You're in love with me?" she breathed in disbelief, voice barely above a whisper.

This was a joke. right? He must be joking. She looked up expecting to see him holding back laughter, but he was deadly serious. "You're a criminal." It was the only thing she could think to say. Red chuckled again.

"Many of us are capable of feeling love, you know."

Liz frowned and lowered her gaze. "That's not what I meant. We can't..." "I know." Red interrupted.

"You're a young, beautiful FBI agent, I'm a dangerous criminal twice your age. It's really just a bad idea all around, I'll admit, but there's just... something about you, Lizzie. I just can't leave you alone. I've already decided no matter what happens, even if you hate me, I will stay by your side. I never had any hopes of you returning an old man's foolish affections, I was quite content with the idea of being your protector but then..."

"Then?" Liz felt her face grow warm,vaguely aware of where he was headed.

"You kissed me back, Lizzie. Were you hoping I wouldn't notice?"

She hung her head, suddenly ashamed. Could she have feelings for him? Everything about them being together was wrong, but she had to admit that she felt safe with him. That she felt loved in a way she had never experienced before. There was an intensity there she had never felt with Tom and it frightened her.

Red tilted her chin up and looked her in the eyes before leaning down to kiss her gently. Lizzie closed her eyes, the feeling of his lips and tongue softly caressing hers sending chills down her spine. She sighed contentedly and thoughts of him taking her to bed suddenly invaded her mind. She was surprised that she didn't hate the idea.
a familiar warmth had once again begun to pool in her abdomen, inching lower with every second.

Then, he pulled away, leaving her confused and frustrated.

"I'm afraid that will be the last time I do that."

She wanted to cry. What the hell? Why was he playing with her? She turned to leave, embarrassed that she had believed he wanted her, but he grabbed her by the arm and spoke before she could take another step.

"I meant what I said before, Lizzie." his voice was gravely serious. "I love you."

"You never said that." her voice faltered, taken aback by his directness.

"I thought it was implied." he smiled. "But if what just happened between us is to ever happen again, I'm afraid you'll have to be the one to initiate. If that time ever comes, I will gladly reciprocate, but I don't want you feeling pressured. All I really want is for you to be happy, Lizzie. As I said, I am content to watch over you, to protect you as I have been for many years now, and maybe..."

The intensity of his eyes on her was making her feel things she wasn't sure she wanted to feel.

"Maybe?" she raised an eyebrow, trying to keep her composure.

"Maybe in time, you'll want to be mine."

Lizzie knew he might be right and it scared her. She was beginning to have feelings for him that were inappropriate to say the very least. Maybe it didn't matter though. She felt safe with him.

Red Reddington was a monster, she was right about that, but...

He was her monster.