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Eleventh Hour Fic - Door Open Door Closed

Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Hood/Rachel
Disclaimer: Not mine
Timeline: A missing scene from Savant. This would take place between the last two scenes.


DOOR OPEN DOOR CLOSED

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By Lattelady

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The sun rose as the Chicago police were taking Dr. and Mrs. Edward Fisher into custody. Dr. Jacob Hood, Special Science Investigator for the FBI and Special Agent Rachel Young had just solved their most recent case. They had some loose ends to tie-up and a mound of paperwork to attend to, so it would be a few more days before they could head back to D.C.

Rachel quietly ran her keycard through the lock of the small suite she and Hood were using while in the windy city. With a warning nod to her charge, she pulled her Glock 38 Compact out of its concealed holster and opened the door far enough to peek around it.

“Stay behind me,” she hissed and blocked his body with hers when he tried to take control of the knob and open the door for her.

Hood rolled his eyes. It was the same every time. The small slim agent always checked any room they entered. She checked behind the doors and opened the closets. All the while she shielded him from possible attack.

“All clear,” Young called out, once she’d engaged the locks and pulled the drapes.

“Was that really necessary?” Jacob wearily rubbed his face with both hands.

“Hood, I’m too tired to argue procedure with you.” She glared. “Can we save it for later?” Rachel was worn-thin. Neither she nor Jacob had gotten more than a few hours of sleep in the four days since they’d arrived. Added to that, this case had struck too close to home for her liking. Autistic teens had been kidnapped and medically experimented on as if they were lab rats. If it had happened in her hometown, her young cousin could have been one of the victims. Just thinking about it made her heart hurt.

“Yeah, sure, whatever you want.” He took in her disheveled appearance and tried not to grin. Blonde locks that were usually swept back into a severe bun or ponytail dangled against her cheeks and almost hid her bruised and blackened right eye.

“All I want is to wash the smell of smoke from that bomb out of my hair and take a large handful of Advil.”

“Not advised,” he shook his finger at her and stared her down.

“Pardon me!” Her eyes sparked. She knew she was a mess, and Hood wasn’t in much better shape. Neither of them had seen the inside of their suite for over twenty-four hours. What the hell was he talking about?

“The shower’s fine, in fact it’s a good idea.” He grimaced. “We’re both a bit ripe. I was taking about the Ibuprofen. It can have serious side effects, everything from rash, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and abdominal pain, to the reduced ability of blood to clot, which can lead to stomach ulcers, kidney failure and even congestive heart failure. For someone your size,” he looked her over carefully before he continued speaking. “Hmmm, I’d say no more than 300 to 500 milligrams in an eight hour period and then not on an empty stomach.”

“Lighten up, I was exaggerating,” her voice was husky and she took a step backward. She wasn’t used to Hood turning his searching hazel gaze her way.

“Take the narcotic you were given in the ER, its not that strong,” his words were deep and serious and he never took his eyes off her bruised face as he closed the gap between them. “It’ll help with your pain and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.”

“Can’t, nothing stronger than over-the-counter medications, while I’m on duty. I’ll use the drops he gave me to reduce some of my eye swelling. That should help.” She turned away to gently pull the elastic band out of her hair, freeing what was left of her tight ponytail. Her shoulder sagged in relief when her scalp was set free.

“Rachel, the door’s closed, you’re off duty.” Jacob didn’t know why she was being so obstinate. “Take the damn pills.” He could tell by the way she carefully handled her hair that her head was hurting as well as her eye and he’d bet there were bruises hidden by her jacket that he didn’t know about.

“With you, Hood, it’s never closed.” She pointed to the main door of the suite. “And I’m never off duty,” Young sputtered in frustration. The man was a brilliant scientist. She knew he understood that door open meant an unsecured position and door closed meant a secured one. But he failed miserably at putting those concepts into practice. His tendency to become preoccupied and ignore safety issues exasperated Rachel no end.

She felt tears pressing at the back of her lids but refused to let them fall. “Stay in the suite and don’t answer the door or the phone. I’m going to take a shower and change into something clean.”

“Rachel…”

“Not now! If you’re bored, check out the room service menu, but for God’s sakes, remember to use your cover name if you order before I get back!” She called over her shoulder and stalked toward her room.

“Ahhh is it Smith or Jones this week?” He was needling her and they both knew it.

“Neither!” She ground her teeth and gripped her hands into fists at her sides. It was an indication of how tired she was that she almost rose to the bait. “It’s Rainier. John Rainier. We’re doing the mountains remember…. St. Helen's, Rainier, McKinley. Just never ever Hood…” Her voice trailed behind her as she stepped into her room slamming the door that separated it from the common area they’d used as an office.

Hood wasn’t bored, he was distressed and didn’t understand why. He moved slowly to the window and held the curtain aside a few inches. The sky that had been an iridescent pink when they arrived at their hotel had turned blue-grey as the sun rose higher. He was as tired as Rachel was, so why had he tried to provoke her? He wasn’t a cruel man by nature. Something in him had needed to push her and feel her push back. He frowned, unable to make sense of it.

The case had been difficult. He hated seeing what was being done to those children. He’d focused completely on what they were working on and allowed her to watch his back. But then…but then…his mind stuttered and stalled. He blinked to try and erase the sudden memory of exploding glass and the world two feet away from him erupting into flames. It was a world that had contained not only the woman they’d been following, Catherine Bonatelli, but Rachel Young as well.

Up until that moment he’d thought of the agent as indestructible. It was soothing to be around a woman and not see death peeking out at him from the corners of the room. The loss of his wife to cancer, two years earlier, had left him closed off. It’d been easy to escape into the realm of thoughts and ideas he found so fascinating. It had been a safe place to exist because knowledge grew and changed but never died. Now for some reason, he didn’t find that very comforting.

Had he deliberately tried to incite Rachel to reinforce the boundaries of her strength? Shaking his head at the odd turn his thoughts had taken, he let the drape slip from his hand and went to his room. He had some phone calls to make and wanted to shower and change. She was right, he needed to check out the room service menu. Those anomalous thoughts would disappear once he ate and got some sleep.
………………………................................

Rachel gasped as she pulled her gray FBI t-shirt over her head. Lifting her arms above her shoulders and twisting her body, pulled at the abrasion on her right side. It sent sharp pain ricocheting along her ribs. The injury had been caused when the explosion sent her sprawling along the pavement. Her sweater and tank top had ridden up while her jacket was pushed aside, leaving no protection against the asphalt when she landed. The reddened bruised area wasn’t any worse than the one on her chest or above her eye, but she could tell its location was going to give her more problems. The ER doc had given her some antibiotic ointment, with luck that should take care of it in a few days.

After taking 400 mg of Ibuprofen; using her eye drops; and covering her various scrapes and bruises with ointment; she carried her briefcase and weapon to the table in the sitting room that separate her bedroom from Hood’s. Rachel was dressed in her t-shirt and drawstring sleep pants with a towel over her shoulders to protect her top from her wet hair. She’d learned her lesson early on with Dr. Jacob Hood. She had no wish to a repeat performance of running through the lobby of a hotel in her short robe and lacy camisole. Nowadays she slept in more concealing clothes.
…………………………….........................

Hood crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his right shoulder against the doorframe of his room. He was fresh from his shower and was dressed in pajama bottoms and a t-shirt.

He’d caught Rachel unawares as she was deep in paper work. It wasn’t often he was free to simply observe her and for some reason he found it calming to do so this morning. Long blonde hair that was usually kept neatly in a bun or ponytail fell damply over her shoulders. Her glasses were slipping down her nose but she didn’t bother to push them into place. He knew she was either completely relaxed or exhausted because her body language indicated she was oblivious to his scrutiny. Up until now the Rachel Young he knew was completely aware of her surroundings at all times.

Jacob’s eyes began to twinkle and he fought a smile when her pen fall from lax fingers and her body began to drift slowly to the left.

“Rachel, you’re listing,” he called out and stepped into the room.

“I’m listening.” She jerked awake, gasping, as she looked at him over her glasses.

“I said listing not listening.” He grinned. “You were falling asleep.”

“Yeah, I guess I was.” She removed her glasses and squeaked in pain when she attempted to rub her eyes, having completely forgotten that one was blackened, and bruised.

“That’s quite a shiner you’ve got there.” Hood sat across from her at the small table and gently tipped her chin so he could take a closer look. There was a butterfly dressing over her eyebrow and her lid was puffy and turning purple. He knew she’d iced it at the hospital where they’d caught their suspects, but it was a case of too little too late.

“It’s not my first and I doubt it’ll be my last.” The explosion at the warehouse had caught her by surprise. If not for a judicially placed dumpster, she knew her injuries would have been far more severe than a headache, a black eye and abrasions on her forehead, chest and right side.

“When was that?” Hood fought for a neutral topic as he was hit by the scent of freshly bathed woman. It was a smell he was intimately familiar with, though not with this woman. The combined fragrances of damp hair, shampoo, soap and whatever mysterious creams and potions females used, was a memory he didn’t realize he’d forgotten nor understand why it evoked such a deep jagged response in the pit of his stomach. All he could do was stare at her, hoping the answers would be forthcoming.

“When was what?” She forced herself to meet his penetrating gaze, never realizing that exhaustion had wiped away her stern FBI expression and replaced it with wide-eyed vulnerability.

“The first black eye,” he whispered, not missing a beat. Luck was with him tonight. Usually when he began to focus on something, it was at the expense of everything else around him. The heady scent of her damp skin was distracting on a number of levels he had no wish to examine, but couldn’t leave alone.

“I was fourteen years old…my best friend, Nicky, and I were babysitting. My grandma had an old game of twister that had belonged to my mom. Gram was calling out colors as the three of us played.” Rachel smiled gently at the old memory. “We were doing just fine until Nick sneezed, knocking us down into a pile of tangled limbs. The girl we were watching, thumped me in the nose…as she went down…I ended up with two black eyes.” Young’s breathy tale ended when she laughed at the incident she’d all but forgotten. Her sudden movement broke the hypnotic spell she’d been caught in and sent pain radiating along her right side. “Ohhh,” she gasped. “Don’t make me laugh.”


“What? What’s wrong?” worry and relief warred in Jacob’s voice. He didn’t like that she was in pain but was caught by surprise at the strange fascination he had for her deep blue eyes.

“I bruised my side along with all of this.” She pointed in the general direction of her right eye. “I’ve had experience with these things and know I’ll be feeling much better in the morning.”

“It is morning, very early morning.” Hood watched her pull back into herself and try to force her features into their usual cool calm expression but she was too tired to maintain control for long. His curiosity twitched into high gear and he wondered what she’d be like if she simply allowed herself to let go.

Was that why he’d tried to provoke her half an hour ago? Had he been trying to shove past the professional barrier that always surrounded her? As fast as the thought came to mind he pushed it aside, unwilling to look at the ramifications that it carried.

“I don’t think I’ve eaten since…well I’m not sure when. My inner clock is messed-up. But it explains why I’m starving.” Rachel lied and hid behind the room service menu. “Do you know what you want to eat?”

“I’ve already ordered for both of us. It should be arriving shortly.”

“And what name did you use.” She tried to arch her right eyebrow, but ended up wincing instead.

“St. Helens?” He grinned at her and laughed wickedly. His joke was a silent apology, but he knew he was going to have to do better than that. “I used John Rainier and I’m sorry about earlier. I’m not sure why I deliberately gave you a hard time.”

“It was a difficult case and we’re both tired, both a bit on edge.” Her armor collapsed, as the words slipped out.

“Rachel…” He instinctively reached to lightly slide his thumb over her damaged eyelid, but she ducked her chin to the right and he ended up running his fingers through her hair. They both froze as her hand curled around his wrist. Both unsure if she was trying to push it away or keep it in place…

For one small moment a door swung open leaving two people poised defenseless against something neither of them was ready for yet.

They were pulled back to reality, when heavy knocking on the main door of the suite made them jump apart. Rachel reached for her Glock Compact that laid beside her papers on the table as a voice called out, “Room service, Mr. Rainier.”

“Just a moment.” Jacob answered.

“Stay right where you are,” Young hissed and gripped her Compact with both hands as she headed toward the door.

“Just this once let me answer it,” he argued. “If it turns out I’m wrong and there is a terrorist disguised room as service waiting in the hall, that's your cue to go all Rambo on him. But for now, save what energy you have left.

“Hood, when I tell you to stay you stay. When I say duck you duck and when I say run you run. Got me on that?” she spit out quietly and quickly. Rachel Young was back in full FBI mode. “You’re going to be the death of me yet.”

Her sarcastic words hit Jacob like a right hook. She wasn’t indestructible, as much as he’d like to think of her that way. She could have died today while he stayed in the car as she’d instructed him. He itched to do more than stare at her as she checked the peephole in the door and then tucked her weapon into the back of her drawstring pants, careful that the hem of her t-shirt covered the exposed grip.

He felt like he was standing at the center of a kaleidoscope and someone had turned the ring causing new patterns to shift and form. As he’d done all his life, Hood stood back and assessed the situation. He watched as Rachel carefully let the waiter in, while keeping her right hand within inches of the bulge at the base of her spine, he knew was her weapon. In his mind he superimposed that data on the idea of her small form, as it must have appeared when flung across a parking lot amid smoke and flames. He remembered calling to her in panic and the relief he’d felt when he found her alive, but bruised and battered.

He glared at his surroundings trying to figure out what was different from five minutes ago. What had that twist of the kaleidoscope cost him and when was he going to have to pay up? Anger bubbled up inside of him when he discovered he was too tired to dig for more answers.

The adrenaline that had allowed Rachel her last show of bravado held out as long as the waiter was in the room. Once he was gone, it was an effort to remain standing so she slouched against the locked door, with her Glock dangling from her right hand.

“You never cease to amaze me.” There was bite to his words he didn’t try to hide. His face was ridged and his eyes were dark and bottomless.

“What do you mean?” She straightened and moved to the table to examine their food. She’d bet her pension that the granola and berries with a side order of yogurt were for her. It was unsettling to discover the doctor was beginning to understand her.

“I will never ever be the death of you,” he ground out.

“I didn’t mean…” She judicially studied her strawberries before popping one in her mouth. She wasn’t hunger in the least, but anything was better than getting caught under the angry visual examination of Jacob Hood, when she wasn’t at the top of her game. She was supposed to protect him, worry about him, not the other way around.

“I’m sorry, I’m tired, my head hurts and I took it out on you. I never should have said what I did.” She looked up and was once again caught by his penetrating stare. “Look, I think I need sleep more than food.”

“You’re probably right.” As quickly as his anger had come it subsided. But he was left with the disturbing feeling that something important had changed between them.

“Do you have your panic button with you?” As penance for her careless words she let him guide her to her room.

“It’s right here.” Jacob pulled it out of the pocked of his t-shirt.

“Don’t answer the door or the phone.” She crawled into bed as he pulled back the covers for her.

“I know the rules.” He took the towel from around her shoulders letting her long hair fall over his arm and tickle his skin. “Get some sleep.”

“You too.”

“I will.” He reached for her light switch.

“Hood, wait.” She met his eyes again even though she knew it was a dangerous thing to do. “Leave my door at least partially ajar and wake me if you’re going to go anywhere. I…well…I’m worried that my response time to your panic button might be a little slower than usual.”

“It’s all right,” he sighed understanding how hard it was for her to say what she did.

“It’s not really. I should be advising you to call in back up.”

“No, we’re fine for today.” He sat down beside her on the bed and gently brushed hair off her bruised face. All the while telling himself he was only trying to reassure her, the need to touch had nothing to do with him. “Rachel, I won’t leave the suite until you wake up. You’ve done your job, our rooms are secure.” His lips twitched in humor as he used her expression for the second time that night. “The door is closed and it’ll stay that way while you sleep.”

“You’re usually up and sticking your nose into all sorts of trouble after only four hours. I need more rest than that tonight.” Her eyes drooped and she was having trouble staying awake.

“I’ve been told I’m a pretty smart guy, I should be able to figure out something to do without going out, just this once.”

“Thanks for staying, Hood,” she murmured as her lids slide closed.

“You’re welcome, Rachel,” he whispered and stood to turn off her light. Even with the blackout drapes, the room wasn’t completely dark. The sun was up on a new day in Chicago.

Rachel turned over and pulled her spare pillow tightly against her body. For the first time since she began working with Jacob Hood she felt safe falling asleep. Her last waking thought was that he was secure and that was all that was important. The tiny spark of euphoria that he’d been concerned enough about her to see to her needs first meant nothing at all. Or so she told herself.
………………………………............................

Jacob knew he needed sleep more than food. He left their breakfast sitting on the table in the protective coverings it had arrived in.

He was getting into bed, when he realized he still had Rachel’s towel clutched in his hand. He held it to his face and took a deep breath. Smell was a strong memory trigger and his was sending up flares all over the place.

Hood had done most of his grieving for his wife during the long months she’d been dying. If he could have traded places with her, he would have done so in an instant, but he was enough of a realist to know it wasn’t possible. After she’d died he shut off his feelings and emotions, determined to never have to go through that again.

Today he’d been blindsided by a long forgotten memory, one that spoke to him of home, love and intimacy. He sat up in bed and looked through his open door, across the common room through to the bedroom beyond. When he’d left Rachel’s door open he’d told himself that he’d wanted to be sure he heard her if she had nightmares from the trauma of the explosion, now he was sure that hadn’t been the only reason.

“I’m not going to be the death of you, Rachel Young,” he whispered across the open space that separated them. Door open - it may not be secure, but it felt right because it was between them. From his position he could also see the safely closed and locked door of their suite - door closed. “Okay…okay…starting right now, we do this together. I’ll pay more attention, I promise. It’s the only way I can come close to watching your back as you watch mine.”

He lay down and closed his eyes. His last waking thought was of the wide-eyed vulnerable look on Rachel’s face the first time her FBI mask was swept away and his hope he’d be able to see it more often.

The End

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kimbari
Nov. 16th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
I *loved* this, very well done! I'm really loving the show so I was thrilled when I saw your fic. Hood and Young have such lovely chemistry, don't they? :)

Looking forward to reading more.
lattelady6
Nov. 16th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
Re: ♥
Thank you very much. You're one of my favorite writers to get a review from you is very special.

I'm enjoying EH too. This is the first time I've written for a show that's so new. It was a bit of a challenge.

Phyllis
ex_nadeshiko480
Nov. 16th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Gald to see I've found an Eleventh Hour fan. Man, I love that show!

Nice fic, sweets! I liked how you used the episode Savant to shift things between Hood and Rachel. I got the same feeling with last week's episode and how Rachel got a little green with jealousy at all the girls fawning over Hood like moths drawn to a flame. Tee-hee!

Can't wait to see what you write up next!

Speaking of which, how are things with you?
lattelady6
Nov. 16th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Oh yes I've been an EH fan from the first episode.

I'm doing well. I had some eye surgery, again. But things are good.

This is the first thing I've written in months. I'm not sure how much more there will be about these two. I've never written in a fandom so new. There isn't much info out there about the two characters. I'm only willing to make up so much.

P
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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