rillalicious: (Caroline/Colby 1)
[personal profile] rillalicious
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6



"Sinclair."

"Hey, David."

"Saw you guys scratched one more name off the most wanted list today. Congratulations."

"Eh, Nikki and Ian did all the leg work. I was just back up."

"The modesty is a nice touch. Does it help with the girl?"

"It might. If I could get her to call me back."

"You still haven't heard from her?"

"Nope."

"How many days since she moved out?"

"Four."

"Huh. That's probably not a good sign."

"Thanks. You're really helping, David."

"I do what I can."

"So, how's Rita?"

"She's great. Really nice girl. We've got Wizards tickets tonight. Courtside."

"How'd you pull that off?"

"I know a guy who knows a guy."

"Uh huh. Well, good for you. Have fun, all right?"

"Sure thing. Hey, uh, let me know when you hear from Caroline, all right? I wanna know how that turns out for you."

"You mean you want to gloat when it turns out that you've got a girl and I got ditched?"

"Never! I'm pulling for you, Colby, all right?"

"Yeah. Thanks, David. Talk to you later."

"See ya."


~*~*~



Colby tucked his sunglasses away and staggered into his apartment, stifling a yawn. Liz had been giving him shit all day about how tired he was, but he'd stayed up late into the night, trying to leave message after message for Caroline, but it looked like her phone was off. Of course, he mused, there was a good chance she was at the police station filing a report against him for stalking her with all the calling he'd been doing lately, but still, he had driven past her house on the way home, disappointed and annoyed to see that her truck wasn't in the parking lot.

Maybe he should have taken Liz and Nikki up on their offer to go out to dinner after work. He shook his head and tossed his keys and his phone on the counter, then pulled open the refrigerator door.

When his phone went off suddenly, it took him a few seconds to remember where he just dropped it.

"Granger," he said, hoping it wasn't another work call. He needed sleep.

"Colby?" Caroline's voice sounded small and unsteady; he could tell that much even through the choppy connection.

"Care, what's wrong?"

"I'm at the mountain. I, um, had a little accident."

"Shit. Where are you? Stay there. I'm coming." Unopened bills and take out containers tumbled to the floor as Colby sifted through the contents of the countertop to find his keys.

"I'm, um, God, Colby, I'm sorry to call you all the way out here."

"Caroline. Where are you?"

"You know that parking lot at the overlook off the canyon road? The one at the trailhead that goes up the far side of the ridge?"

"Yeah." He was already throwing the door closed behind him as he jogged toward his car. "What happened? Are you hurt? You need me to call for an ambulance?"

"Oh, God, no. That's why I called you. I just--I need a ride, all right? I don't think I can drive."

"What happened?" he said again, patience ebbing from his voice. All he could think about was how far away she was right now.

"I was hiking and I took a fall. It's... my ankle. S'really tender. Hurts to put pressure on it."

"All right. I'll be right there. Do you want to stay on the phone?"

"No, I'm good. I've got water here at my truck. I can hang tight."

"And you're sure you don't want to call anybody else? The paramedics can get there a lot sooner than I can."

She laughed then, a soft, tired laugh, but it was enough to set him at ease. "No, I just want... you. All right?"

Colby smiled. "I'll be there as fast as I can," he said, and he slid into the passenger's seat.


~*~*~



The tires squealed as Colby pulled off the road; after driving too fast for the duration of the trip, he'd almost forgotten how to brake all together. He saw her sitting on the bed of her pick-up, leaning over the side with her head down, her open backpack beside her.

"Hey," he said as he stood from his car. "Care?"

"Hmm?" She looked up at him, her head lolling back a little bit too much, and he saw the blood and dirt caked on the side of her face.

"Caroline, Jesus!" He ran over to her, cradling her chin in his hand as he raised her face to look at him. "What the hell happened? You told me it was just your ankle."

"Only a flesh wound," she said, but her eyes weren't quite focusing on him. "I fell."

"Yeah," he said, gingerly wrapping an arm around her waist and one beneath her knees. "I can see that. How'd you get back here?"

She laughed and it was the same slightly dreamy laugh she'd used earlier when she called, but this time, as she wrapped her arms listlessly around his neck, he didn't find it comforting.

"Crawled, mostly," she said. "Can we go take a shower now? I really need a shower."

"We'll worry about that in a minute," he said. He lifted her up and shifted her over to sit beside her and pulled out his phone. "I'm calling for an ambulance."

"I'm okay, really. I just need a shower."

As she continued to insist there was nothing wrong, Colby leaned away from her and made the call.

"They're on their way. Caroline, when did you fall?"

She pressed her lips together in concentration for a moment. "Yesterday, maybe?"

"Yesterday. And you just made it back to your truck now? Why the hell didn't you call from where you fell?"

"No service," she said, her hair rubbing up against his neck as her weight sagged against him. "Not till I got back here."

"And then you thought it was a good idea just to sit here for a couple of hours? Why the hell didn't you call an ambulance?"

"Shh," she said sleepily. "So loud."

Colby ground his teeth together. She was a smart woman. A ranger, for Christ's sake. What the hell was she doing out here without telling anybody? Why would she make him think it wasn't a big deal? Tender ankle, my ass.

He swallowed. It wasn't going to help to get angry at her right now.

"Sorry," he said. "Just rest till they get here, all right? But don't fall asleep. See if you can stay awake with me."

"'kay," she said, but her breathing had already grown more even.

"Care," he said, raising his voice just enough to jar her. "I know you heard me. No sleeping."

He could feel her smiling against his shoulder. "Okay, okay. FBI orders. No sleeping. Tell me a story, then. Keep me up."

He raised a hand to her hair, gently stroking a spot where he was sure she wasn't nursing a bruise or scrape.

"All right," he said. "Did I ever tell you about my first week on the job with David?"


~*~*~



Colby was pretty sure that the relief he felt at seeing Caroline clean and bandaged and smiling at him from her hospital bed was more intense than what he'd felt when he woke in the hospital after Lancer's torture, or even when Dwayne had dragged him out of that humvee.

"Hey," he said, holding the little teddy bear behind his back as he walked into the room.

"Hey," she said, and her cheeks went pink, but she didn't look away. "I'm so sorry about that."

"You hit your head pretty hard. I think you've got an excuse for not thinking straight."

"I'm sure I'd have the headache to prove it, but they've got me pretty well numbed up."

"I hope so," he said, sitting on the edge of the bed. "So you're all right, then? You don't need anything?"

"I'm fine, Colby. Really. I have a concussion, and I broke my ankle. I'll survive."

He pulled the teddy bear out and set it in her lap. "What were you doing out there all alone? Why didn't you tell anyone where you were going?"

"Thanks," she said softly, stroking the bear's head. "I went up there to see the cabin again. I needed to breathe, and I was starting to feel like I couldn't... not in the city.The hike was a spur of the moment thing. You know how many times I've hiked those trails, Colby. I guess this time I was just distracted. I caught my foot on something hard enough to tweak my ankle and I lost my balance and went down the embankment. I tried to call 9-1-1 when I was down there, but I couldn't get a signal."

He reached up to brush her hair back from her shoulder. "How did you make it back to the parking lot?"

She shook her head. "I could barely stand up, so I crawled, mostly. By the time I got there, my head was throbbing and I couldn't think straight and..." Her gaze darted down to her lap. "I just wanted you to be there."

"So you crawled through the brush and the dirt for a day and a half just to get a hold of me?" he said, snorting. "You're not very good at this damsel in distress thing, are you?"

"Apparently not." She looked up at him again. "Is that a problem?"

"Nah," he said, and he ran the pad of his thumb along a bruise on her cheek. "I like a strong woman."

She licked her lips. "Colby, maybe we shouldn't do this here."

He stared at her for a moment, realization setting in slowly. Maybe this didn't mean what he'd thought it meant.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to make it sound like... I mean, I get that you didn't want to talk to me before you--"

"No," she said quickly. "It wasn't that. I wasn't avoiding you--Well, okay. I was avoiding you, but I was avoiding everyone. I just needed... breathing room. Everything changed, all at once, and I just needed to go back for a little while."

"I get that," Colby said, even though her little speech had only served to confuse him more. He couldn't even tell if she was rejecting him. He squeezed her hand. "Any idea when you're getting out of here?"

"They want me to stay tonight," she said. "It's probably a good idea. I should get out in the morning."

"I'll drive you home."

"You don't have to--"

"I'll drive you home."

She smiled and nodded reluctantly. "All right," she said. "I'd like that." She held the bear up to get a good look at him. "Will you stay for a while? Keep me company? I'm not up for watching tv, and I'm not ready to sleep."

"Sure," he said, cutting off the word with a yawn. "Crap. Sorry. Late night last night."

"I see," she said, and she sounded just a little bit suspicious about that.

He had a feeling it was wrong, but he didn't correct her.

"Well," she scooted over and patted the bed beside her, "just because I'm not ready for sleep doesn't mean you can't catch a nap, does it?"

He watched her eyes for a moment, her gaze unwavering, then grinned. "I guess not."

Colby stretched out on the bed beside her and rested his head on the pillow. The afternoon's adrenaline had worn off, and once he closed his eyes, every part of him felt heavy and immobile. He barely managed to murmur a "thanks", but he was acutely aware of the kiss she pressed to his temple, and the weight of her cheek resting against the top of his head as he fell asleep.







Chapter 8
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Rilla

January 2012

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