blue flamingos

Reconciliation

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Numb3rs

Category/Rated: Slass/NC-17

Year/Length: 2009/~5,353words

Pairing: Evan Lorne/Colby Granger

Spoilers: Numb3rs season 5 up to and including 12.01am; spoilers for SGA season 5 up to and including the final episode

Disclaimer: Not mine, to my eternal disappointment.

Summary: Lorne goes to LA and his boyfriend when he ends up on medical leave (to steal the text of the original prompt)

Series: Dysfunction 'verse

Author's Notes: Written for slashing_lorne. Sequel to Redefinition. It'd make more sense having read that, but I don't think it'd be incomprehensible without. For more of Sheppard's story that's mentioned in this: Trick of the Light

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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"Are you sure this is a good idea?" David said when Colby mentioned that he was going to have company on his fishing trip.

Colby couldn't exactly say that one of the main reasons he was telling David was that he wanted David to turn around and say it sounded like a good idea. He'd shrugged instead.

David, leaning against his car, the two of them on their way home for the night, looked at him for a long moment, then said, "Tell me you're not planning on taking him rock climbing with a recently dislocated shoulder."

Colby just about kept from rolling his eyes – David had been really good about keeping the disparaging comments to a minimum after Evan left again – and said, "No, I don't think that'll help my case much," holding onto his patience as well as he could. It wasn't David's fault that Colby was a little bit of a nervous wreck at that point.

A completely justified nervous wreck, considering the last time he and Evan had been together they'd nearly broken up, but he figured that wouldn't be the most persuasive argument to use on David, who still thought Colby was an idiot for sleeping with Lynn Porter.

"Point," David said. "Look, he chose to come stay with you, so just try to keep the paranoia to a minimum and you'll be fine."

"You're a big help," Colby said as sarcastically as he could manage, considering David had actually managed to make him feel better about the trip.

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"I don't need to go back to Earth," Evan said, first to Jennifer, then to Woolsey, and finally to Sheppard, when he got back from a short, compulsory visit to the Endrakans.

"It's called medical leave," Sheppard said, standing with his arms crossed next to Evan's infirmary bed. "And if you take it here, you'll just end up trying to work, and you know the marines hate having to chase you down and make you go back to bed."

"The marines love getting to frog-march me through the city under Jennifer's orders," Evan corrected. He sighed, hating how tired he still felt, hating that he was having this argument. Hating that it wasn't a year ago, when he'd have jumped at the chance to spend a week on Earth. "It's a dislocated shoulder, I can be on desk duty."

"Great impression that'll give, the military second in command passed out on his paperwork," Sheppard said darkly. Then he sighed, which just made Evan feel worse. As if things hadn't been bad enough for Sheppard since Atlantis had come back to Pegasus, Evan had to go and get captured off-world. He figured there was something really wrong with him that he felt guilty for getting captured when it hadn't even been his fault.

"You were drugged unconscious for four days straight," Sheppard said, voice gone quiet. "It's still in your system, and I don't care how fine you keep telling me you are, you're clearly not. If Keller wants to send you to Earth so you can recover without worrying that we're going to blow the place up if you don't keep a close enough eye on things, let her send you to Earth. You barely left the city when we were back on Earth last month, the down-time will be good for you."

He looked away, and after a few seconds, so did Evan, embarrassed on Sheppard's behalf for how upset he looked, when Evan was fine. Mostly fine.

He was pretty sure that was what made him agree to go, in the end – he couldn't stand to be one more thing that made Sheppard look like he'd just lost a platoon of marines in a stupid accident.

He still wasn't sure what made him call Colby and ask if he could visit.

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Colby hadn't expected Evan to look his usual well put together self, considering he'd said that he was on medical leave after getting injured. Even so, he was more surprised than he was ready to admit to see Evan come through arrivals with his head down, weaving slightly like he was drunk.

"Evan."

Or exhausted; when he looked up at Colby's voice, he had dark circles under his eyes, and he was blinking too much, like he had to struggle to keep his eyes open. That probably explained his weak smile as well. Still, Colby wasn't sure if his own worry kicked up a bit because of how worn Evan looked or because he was used to Evan looking a lot happier to see him. Maybe both, whatever David said about keeping the paranoia down.

"Good flight?" Colby wanted to touch, give him a hug, but they hadn't parted on the most settled terms and he wasn't sure Evan would welcome it. "Let me take that."

Evan handed over his duffel without protest, which was definitely enough to make Colby worry more, and fell into step with him. "Turbulence," he said, sounding disgusted. "Supposed to be clear blue skies the whole way here."

"Weather forecasters lie," Colby said solemnly, and was stupidly pleased when Evan laughed a little. "Listen, are you sure you're up for camping? You look like you'd be better off in a proper bed."

Like he'd be better off if he was in a proper bed right that second, rather than walking through LAX with Colby, but Colby'd known him for five years, and he definitely knew better than to say that.

Evan smiled, not looking particularly amused. "I won't have any trouble sleeping," he said, then, apparently realizing how unenthusiastic that sounded, "I'd rather be outside. Your street gets too loud."

Colby'd always thought of his place as being incredibly quiet, for LA, but who knew where Evan was stationed? Coming back from Afghanistan, all the usual American noise had seemed unbearably loud, even though he knew rationally that it was quieter than the sound of bombing and overhead raids in Afghanistan.

"If you're sure," he said doubtfully.

"I'm sure," Evan said, bumping Colby's shoulder with his own, in what Colby chose to take as a purposeful gesture rather than a side effect of his inability to walk in a proper straight line.

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He kept expecting Evan to fall asleep on the drive up into the mountains, but the movement, or maybe the chance to sit still, seemed to wake him up.

Or maybe it was just the fidgeting.

Colby knew better than to ask how Evan had wound up with a dislocated shoulder and the support sling that was obviously irritating him. One look at him said it was more than a fall, something simple, but he'd figured out early on that whatever Evan was doing was highly classified. He was sure Evan had a cover story, but since they'd both know it was a lie, there didn't seem to be much point in asking for it.

"Sure you don't want to stop off for a shower or something?" he asked, watching the road, which, given that it was early Tuesday afternoon, was unsurprisingly quiet. That was another thing they weren't talking about – Evan had a week of leave, and the fishing trip was only supposed to last a couple of days. David had been no help in figuring out if it would be better to mention that Evan could stay with him or that he could stay at a hotel. Megan, Colby figured, would have known what to say, but he'd so far managed to keep from telling her that he'd nearly wrecked his relationship with Evan over a one-night stand, and he was pretty keen to keep it that way.

"Short flight, I'm not that grimy," Evan said.

"Or food. I guess they didn't feed you on the plane."

Evan shook his head. "I'm good." Even without looking at him, Colby could feel him hesitating. "You can stop trying so hard," Evan said finally. "I meant it when I said I wanted to stay together."

Colby felt himself starting to flush, feeling kind of stupid. Evan had said that, when they'd had dinner the night before Evan had to leave, when Colby hadn't been sure which way Evan was going to lean, after his own confession and Evan walking out and then a sort of reconciliation in a public bar. Not until Evan caught his wrist as they were saying goodbye and promised to write, to come back. And kissed him, real quick, since they were on a public street, but still.

Maybe David was right, and he really was turning unhealthily paranoid.

"Good," he said, not bothering to fight the grin he could feel forming, and when he glanced over at Evan, he was smiling as well.

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By the time they'd parked the car and set up camp, Evan could feel himself starting to crash. It'd been a week, near enough, and he was so fucking sick of the effects of the drugs they'd used to keep him compliant. Sure, he'd rather that than torture and physical injuries, but the creeping exhaustion just reminded him all over again that he still didn't know why he'd been taken, that the people who did it were dead or vanished and he'd probably never know.

"You okay?" Colby said, hand light on Evan's good arm for a second. Evan fought down the urge to sigh, the part of him that wished Colby had never told him about his one-night stand with a witness. This used to be so much easier, and he knew, rationally, that it was the drugs, the exhaustion, his injury, Sheppard's guilt, that was making everything seem so hard, but the lie would have been so much simpler to live with.

"I'm fine," he said firmly. He was. The drug was metabolizing along steadily, draining out of his system, and a dislocated shoulder was nothing. He didn't even really need the sling any more, except for Jennifer making him swear. "Where's this fishing spot you were promising?"

Colby still looked worried, but one of the nice things about Colby having been in the army was that he generally knew how far he could push before Evan's patience with being worried over ran out. He gave Evan a few more seconds of concerned eyes, then turned away, going back for his – their – fishing gear. "It's about a half hour walk from here," he said, shouldering the backpack he'd unloaded from the car and refusing to hand over anything to Evan, even when he used his best I can make your life a living hell of paperwork glare.

"Lead the way."

It was nice to be out walking in the sunshine without being armed or having to look out for anyone trying to kill them or running for their lives. Okay, he felt sort of naked without even a handgun, but he sparred with Teyla twice a week, he could defend them with fishing rods if he had to, which hopefully he wouldn't. And, despite everything, it was nice to be out in the sunshine with Colby, far away from Atlantis or the FBI or anything that might call them back.

He took a couple of quick steps, till he was walking next to Colby, who looked at him and said, "What?" sort of smiling.

Evan shook his head, not sure what the words were, and reached for Colby's hand.

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They'd always been good at being quiet together, which meant Colby didn't think anything much when they fell into silence, sitting close enough together on the rocks that he could feel Evan next to him, staring into the water and waiting for something to happen. It was probably a good thing he'd brought actual food along with them, rather than relying on their ability to catch something, fishing not exactly being either of them's strongest skill. Still, it made for a good excuse to sit quietly and do nothing, which really seemed like something Evan needed.

Colby turned his head slightly, meaning to say some of that, and found himself looking at Evan's closed eyes, his drooping head, his hand limp on the fishing rod. Colby couldn't help the smile he felt on his face, how goofy and affectionate he knew he'd look to anyone else.

He lifted Evan's rod away carefully, settling it onto the rock where it wouldn't be knocked into the water. Except then Evan's hands looked weirdly empty, the way soldiers' hands did sometimes, without a weapon, and Colby could still feel the phantom sense of Evan's hand in his as they'd walked, something they hardly ever did, too cautious of both their careers. The fish weren't biting anyway, which was as good a rationalization as any for sliding one hand into Evan's, sun-warmed skin against his own. It felt as good as it had when Evan was awake, like maybe this was something he could do to protect Evan a little, even if he wasn't sure what he was protecting Evan *from,* all the way out in the mountains.

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Evan had actually felt more awake when he woke up than he usually did, which he was completely willing to put down to being on leave rather than in Atlantis. Colby hadn't managed to catch anything during his nap, which was about par for the course, and probably not helped by Colby only having one hand free.

He had, however, brought hot dogs and potatoes, which they baked in the fire back at their campsite. Evan couldn't remember the last time he'd cooked over an open fire without a party going on in the background or someone keeping watch. It was an odd thing to have a pang of homesickness about, but there it was anyway.

Colby looked at him over the fire, frowning a little, asking.

Evan started to shake his head, then reminded himself that he was trying not to keep any secrets he didn't have to, and said, "Thinking about the base."

"Yeah?" Colby said. He didn't ask about Evan's day job much, which Evan appreciated; it was easier not to slide too close to telling when he didn't have the prompt from Colby to make him want to.

"Yeah, I..." Atlantis was hard to put into words even to people he could talk to about it. "Worrying," he said.

Colby smiled a little. "Imagine my surprise. I'm sure they can cope without you."

"I know," Evan said, since it was true, he did know. "Worrying about my CO, I guess." Sheppard had been strange ever since their visit to Earth with the city. At first, Evan had assumed it was because Sheppard wasn't sure they'd be going home, but it had lingered once they were back in Pegasus. Evan didn't quite have the right word for what it was – the closest he could get was sad, but even that wasn't close enough, and he wasn't willing to say depressed, not yet. There were some things it just wasn't okay to think about your CO, in case someone else realized what you were thinking. Whatever it was, it was starting to affect Sheppard's team as well, all of them caught in some weird tide that pulled them close to Sheppard then pushed them away again, no pattern Evan could see.

"Sheppard," Colby said, not quite like he was checking the name.

Evan nodded anyway, trying to push the worry away. There was nothing he could do from Earth – nothing he could do in Pegasus either. "Yeah, it's..." He shrugged, no closer to being able to explain it. "Tell me about one of your cases," he said instead. That, at least, was something they could talk safely about.

Colby looked at him for a moment longer, like he was checking that Evan wasn't going to change his mind, then said, "So, did I tell you our mathematician's girlfriend got taken hostage by a sentient computer?"

Which sounded so much like Evan's day job that he couldn't stop laughing, even when Colby glared at him, mock-offended and demanded, "What? It's not that funny," over and over.

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Evan didn't exactly get quieter as the evening drew on so much as he seemed to fade out of the world a little, until Colby was absolutely sure he didn't have a clue what they were talking about, and possibly didn't know where he was either. Since he hadn't seen Evan take any pain killers, he couldn't blame it on heavy duty drugs, which meant... Actually, he didn't know what it meant, except that he'd been right when he'd thought this was something more than a fall. Capture, maybe? Long enough ago that the physical signs had faded – except then why the dislocated shoulder? Or some kind of illness, something that he was mostly recovered from, so that they'd sent him home to recuperate?

"Colby?" Evan said, sounding uncertain, leaning back against the log he'd been sitting against all evening, looking like he was having to fight just to keep his eyes open.

"I'm still here," Colby said. It was still early, but bed was clearly the best place for Evan right now. "Come on, time all good little air force officers were tucked up asleep."

"I'm awake," Evan said, making a good faith effort at looking it, which collapsed after about five seconds. "Just need some more coffee."

"Yeah, I don't think so." Colby shifted until he could get an arm round Evan's shoulders and a hand on his arm and pull him to his feet. "I'm tired, even if you're not."

Evan made a disbelieving noise, but since he was still leaning into Colby, Colby was inclined to ignore it. Even more so when Evan said, "We don't have to put the fire out, right?" sounding almost anxious.

Colby's latent safety consciousness tended to kick in around fires, but he knew enough to ensure they wouldn't be burned to death in their beds, and it was worth a little anxiety of his own to make Evan stop sounding like that. He tilted, again, back towards torture, or capture, something that was messing with Evan's head more than it was his body. "No, we don't. But that's not an invitation for you to get up for coffee in the middle of the night."

The awkwardness didn't really hit Colby until he was zipping the tent closed and realized that they'd laid out two sleeping bags, close to each other but firmly zipped up as individual bags, where before he'd have zipped them together without a second's thought. Evan didn't seem to notice, just crawled into one and turned his face into the pillow. He was facing into the tent though, close enough for Colby to touch.

Which he did, crawling into his own sleeping bag and reaching out a hesitant hand to rest on Evan's back. Evan sighed, sounding most of the way to asleep, which Colby figured meant he could leave his hand there, feeling Evan breathing.

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Evan knew he was dreaming the moment he felt someone's hand on his arm, the slide of the needle going under his skin. He knew it was a memory, even in the dream, and the memory of being rescued, of his team bursting in and dragging him away when he barely knew what was happening to him, was much stronger, brighter, too much so to be anything other than real.

Knowing he was dreaming didn't help though – he still felt the dream of the drug trying to pull him away, back down, and he fought, tried to cling to that one bright point of real.

Someone very far away from him said, "Evan, hey, come on man, wake up now," and he knew that voice, recognized the feeling of safety that came with it. It was enough to hold onto, to keep from going back under, even when he could feel the drug sliding slow and cold through his system, and he woke up gasping for breath, feet tangled in the sheets, someone there, too close, too close.

Sudden movement away, and he could breathe again. It was too dark for the infirmary, where no-one ever turned out all the lights and, God, what if the rescue *had* been the dream, what if he was back there still, waiting for his team to come for him.

A hand on his arm sent him jerking away, hitting something that gave under him, rather than the wall of the cell, or the empty air on the other side of his infirmary bed. Not right, not right.

"Hang on," the voice from his dream said. A moment later, there was a click, and a flashlight being hastily turned to shine the light away rather than into his eyes.

Evan blinked, taking in a sleeping bag, a familiar duffel, his boots. Tent walls. He took a deep breath, feeling the trickle of sweat at the back of his neck. Earth. Colby. Fishing trip.

"Evan?" Colby said softly.

Evan couldn't look at him, concentrated on straightening out his sleeping bag so he could pull his legs free and sit up. He didn't want to see Colby's concerned face, his wide, worried eyes. "I'm fine," he said, though even he could tell he didn't sound it.

The flashlight beam bounced, like Colby was moving. "Look, I'm not going to ask," Colby said. "I know you won't be able to tell me. But I want to help."

Evan blinked, suddenly way too close to tears, wishing he could wipe out the last year and start over, before everything got quite so messed up. He loved Atlantis, he did, loved the city and its people, loved going through the gate, even loved being the battalion XO and all the crap that sometimes came with it, but he wanted, right then, to curl up as close as possible to Colby and not think about any of it.

"I can," Colby started, the light bouncing again, and Evan knew Colby was about to offer to leave him alone, give him some space. It was just about the last thing he wanted.

He shook his head, and turned blindly, reaching for Colby. He got Colby's shoulder, good enough to pull him closer, to press in until he could feel Colby's warmth against his body, and kiss him, fumbling and awkward and he didn't care because this was what he wanted, this was what made the rest of it worth it.

Colby made a startled sound, but he'd always had good reflexes, and he got with the program fast, hands coming up wrap around Evan's back, careful of his bad shoulder, even without the sling, holding on to him.

Evan was shivering when they broke apart, only partly from the cool air outside, glad that the flashlight had rolled away until they were mostly in darkness again. He pressed his face to Colby's shoulder, breathing in his familiar scent beneath the bite of the cold air, and Colby brought one hand up to rest against the back of his neck, holding him there. Helping him hide.

"What do you need?" Colby asked quietly.

Evan could feel the words, lined up ready to be spoken, except he already knew he wasn't going to say them. Couldn't. He fumbled blindly under his pillow instead until his hand closed over the two small packets he'd slid under there earlier, not entirely sure why he'd been doing it.

When Evan pushed them into Colby's hand, Colby made the same startled noise he'd made when Evan kissed him. Not that Evan could blame him: they didn't do that often, and when they did, it was usually Colby who asked, Colby who lay back and spread his legs for Evan.

"I want –" Evan tried, not sure he'd made himself clear, but Colby leaned back a little, enough to tilt Evan's head and kiss him, firm and sure, and say, "I got it."

They kissed again, slow and careful, mostly in the dark, the still lit flashlight tucked away at the side of the tent. "You want to lie down?" Colby said quietly.

Evan hesitated, then reached down to unzip their sleeping bags. Colby caught on quickly, helping him lay one out flat, the other pushed to the side. It wouldn't make a great cover, and they'd probably both wake up freezing, but it would be an improvement on falling asleep on top of their sleeping bags.

"Lie down," Colby said, guiding him down. Evan blinked up at the green roof of the tent for a minute, then Colby settled next to him, pulling him closer, keeping the weight off his damaged shoulder. Evan got one arm around him, leaned in the rest of the way to kiss him, sick of being moved around, felt Colby's grin.

It was easy to lose track of time like that, eyes closed, feeling the press of Colby's erection against his thigh, then rubbing against his own as Colby rolled them slightly until Evan was on his back. Evan fumbled around, found the condom and lube again, pressed them back into Colby's hand.

Colby pulled back a little, eyes bright in the darkness, and said, "You sure?"

Evan couldn't remember the last time Colby'd fucked him, but he wanted it, the connection and the closeness. The unfamiliarity that made it seem more real. He was pretty sure his imagination wasn't up to creating a good pretense of this. "Yeah."

Colby nodded once, looking very serious, then knelt back to pull Evan's boxers down and off. Evan hissed at the cool air, then again when Colby stroked behind his balls and over his ass. "Relax," Colby said, doing it again.

Relax, right. It seemed like a really good moment for the drug to kick in, dulling the edges of the world, but he felt wide awake instead. He took a deep breath. It helped a bit. "Kiss me," he said, reaching up to touch Colby's ear, his hair.

Colby laughed a little, but leaned in obligingly, letting Evan touch, breathing against his lips, distracting enough that Evan didn't have chance to tense up when Colby slid one finger into him. "Okay?" Colby asked, kissing him for real.

Evan nodded, trying not to tense up again. He concentrated on the feel of Colby's muscles shifting under his palms as he ran his hands up Colby's back, under his t-shirt. That at least was familiar and easy, distraction.

He still couldn't stop himself tensing up a little when Colby sat back and reached for the condom packet, which of course Colby noticed. Joining the FBI, unsurprisingly, hadn't made him any less observant. He hesitated, condom wrapper half open, looking down at Evan and frowning a little. "We don't have to do this," he said.

Evan knew he meant it – he wouldn't say anything if Evan nodded and offered to blow him instead, or even if Evan nodded and said he just wanted to go to sleep. Colby was easy like that. Thing was, Evan didn't want to nod and do something else, he wanted to do this, body's involuntary reactions or not.

He reached for Colby's hand, got his knee instead, then his hand when Colby realized what he wanted, and squeezed. "I want to," he said, then figured he might need a little more honesty. "Just – slow."

"Slow I can do." Colby squeezed his hand again, then let go. Evan kind of wanted to put his hands behind his head, stretch out and just watch Colby with his hand on his own cock, except that he wanted to touch more.

Colby held to his word, pushing into him so slowly that it was barely more than a slight burn, his body remembering how to let someone else in. "Good?" Colby asked, holding most of his weight off Evan still.

Evan nodded, reached up, dragged him down, the sudden movement making both of them gasp, loud in the quiet. Colby went with it, settling his body over Evan's, holding him just as close as Evan was holding Colby, turning his head a little so Evan could kiss him, over and over.

Colby went slow, smooth, even thrusts, hitting the perfect angle after a few strokes. They were pressed together pretty much the length of their bodies, breathing the same air, and all Evan could feel was Colby's skin against his, Colby moving slowly inside him. It was right on the line of too intense, too much, exactly what he wanted. What he needed, pushing every other thought out of his head, every remembered sensation, until there was nothing left but the tension ratcheting up his spine, the way their breathing was getting heavier, dropping into sync with each other.

He hadn't expected to come like that, really hadn't expected to come without one of them touching his cock, but it was rapidly becoming clear what his body thought of his expectations, because he was starting to shake with it, clinging hard enough to Colby to leave bruises. "That's it," Colby said, right in his ear. "I got you, just let go," and it was enough to send him, shivering, over the edge and down somewhere deep and dark, mindless.

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Colby eased his spent cock out of Evan, shivering a little with the loss, and tied the condom off. Evan didn't move, much less open his eyes, even with Colby moving around, disposing of the condom, cleaning them both up. Colby guessed that was a good thing – he looked like he was out for the count, and there were worse ways to get there than post-coital overload.

The thought made him grin a little. Evan probably wouldn't find Colby pointing out just how good he clearly was as amusing as Colby did, which was a shame. As good a friend as David was, there were some pretty clear lines they didn't cross, the details of their sex lives being firmly on the other side of those lines.

He lay back, dragging the other sleeping bag up over them, deciding that if Evan was going to pass out, he'd just have to do it half-naked, because Colby knew from experience that Evan was heavy when he was asleep, and had a tendency to kick if he was woken up before he was ready.

Colby was halfway asleep himself before he remembered being pretty sure he'd heard his cell beep earlier, way too distracted to check it then. If it was Don trying to call him back for the case, he was deleting the message and claiming he never got it, he decided, dialing into his voicemail.

"Voicemail, of course," David's voice said, soft and warm in his ear. "I hope this doesn't mean one of you's killed the other. I'll go crazy if I get permanently partnered with Nikki."

"Hmm?" Evan said sleepily next to him. "What?"

"Nothing," Colby said, half-listening to David talking about their death row prisoner and – basketball? Apparently, half-listening wasn't going to cut it. "Go back to sleep."

"Mm," Evan said, clearly not awake, shifting closer. Colby wrapped an arm round his back, felt Evan relax against him.

"I tell you what, this is a perfect answer to why starting an FBI basketball league is a bad idea," David said. "Ask Evan, I bet he doesn't have one at his base either." Colby wasn't touching that one, given Evan's height. "So, anyway, buddy, I'm just calling to make sure everything's cool. Give me a call when you can."

Colby heard a female voice, probably Nikki, say, "Is that –" before the message clicked off. He'd apparently missed most of the actual content of the message, but the important bits, David's concern, had come through loud and clear. Colby turned his phone off, figuring David would get the message if he called again, and made a mental note to call him back in the morning.

He tucked the phone away where no-one would step on it, turned the flashlight off, and pulled the sleeping bag up a little further, Evan warm and close against him. The rest of the world could wait until morning.

Timestamp, The Morning After


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