Title: Never Know (Sequel to Just Don't Know)
Series/Universe: Not the Only One
Pairing/Characters: Charlie/Colby, OCs
Spoilers: Judgment Call, Breaking Point
Summary: Colby takes Charlie in for his doctor's appointment and does some thinking
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ
Colby finished a second magazine and set it aside on the hospital waiting room coffee table. Charlie had suggested he bring a book from the shelves at the Craftsman, but Colby had scoffed, not thinking it would take that long for Charlie's appointment. Two hours later he had to admit he'd been wrong. Bored, he stood, stretching out his stiff limbs and headed for the coffee machine down the hall. The machine spit out battery acid coffee, but after drinking the FBI's brew Colby figured his stomach could handle just about anything.
He was halfway through the cup, still hovering around the machine, when he saw a nurse peek into the now empty waiting room then spot him and head his way.
"Are you Agent Granger?" she asked.
"Yes, is Charlie okay?"
"Dr. Forester asked me to fetch you." She gestured for Colby to follow and Colby tossed the coffee into the trash and jogged to catch up with her.
"What's wrong? He's just here for a follow up appointment. Something must have happened."
"I'm sorry, Agent Granger, I was just told to bring you," the nurse said in a rote apology. She led him down a hallway where she paused, knocking lightly at one of the doors. Colby tried to look in as the doctor came out, but wasn't able to see anything.
"Dr. Forester, this is Agent Granger, here for Charles Eppes."
"Thank you," the doctor said to the nurse before shaking Colby's hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Can you please tell me what's going on?" Colby asked, anxious.
Dr. Forester pulled him aside to make way for a gurney being pushed down the hallway.
"I'm afraid Charles had a seizure while waiting to have an MRI done." Colby felt his heart flip in his chest at the doctor's words. "It was brief, but as expected he was fairly drained by the experience. We still need to finish up some tests so we've put him in a room for now to keep him comfortable until we can go back and do the MRI and - hopefully - release him to go home."
"You don't want to keep him here?" Colby asked, perplexed. "For like observation or something?"
Dr. Forester shook his head. "We've learned pretty much all we can about Charles' injury. The tests are mostly to follow his progress over time. We believe he's in no danger and would be fine continuing to recuperate at home, supervised of course."
"Of course," Colby agreed. "We've made sure he's always got someone nearby."
"You can go in to see him once we get him settled, but I wanted to brief you beforehand. It's important Charles rest so do what you can to calm yourself before you go in, all right?" Colby nodded numbly and the doctor patted him on the arm. "It'll be just a minute..."
As the doctor headed back into the room Colby began to pace the hallway, rife with nervous energy. Charlie had had a seizure when Amita wasn't around. Colby had wanted to blame her for it all, but clearly she was just a source of stress and it didn't take a leap to realize there would be other stressors in Charlie's life.
Another seizure... His heart still hadn't recovered from that. He'd felt it as sure as Charlie had been there in front of him, same as he'd felt when he found Charlie flailing on the floor of his bedroom.
Colby found himself back at the entrance to the ward and sank down into a lone chair there near the pay phone. He put his head in his hands and let his thoughts race.
Charlie... In his bedroom... On his bed... With him...
It had all seemed so innocent, so easy to explain away. But now Colby's head was spinning. Yesterday everything he'd felt about Charlie had come into question and now he had to face the fact that while Charlie had approached him offering the support of friendship that wasn't how Colby saw him now.
He'd been so blind, enjoying the connection between them, that he hadn't noticed what was really developing between them. Not between them, Colby corrected himself, because that would mean Charlie actually... He shook his head almost as if to dislodge the thought. Charlie had been with Amita. There was no way he was interested in men, much less him. Besides, the boss's little brother? He'd had worse ideas in his life, but not many.
He'd get over it in time. It was just a harmless crush - an understandable attraction. Charlie would become just a good friend and he'd never know that Colby had ever felt anything more than companionship towards him.
"Agent Granger?" Dr. Forester called from down the hall. "You can go in now."
"Thank you." Colby rose and took a deep breath as the doctor walked away. He could do this. He could be a supportive friend and put the rest of it aside. He walked up to the door, put on as cheerful an expression as he could manage and went in.
"Hey, Col..." Charlie greeted him from the bed, sitting on top of the covers still in his street clothes. "Sorry about the hold up."
He looked wan, pale, despite his good humor and Colby had to plaster a smile on to mask his worry, forcing himself to ignore the pang in his chest that was starting to become a fixture there.
"No problem. I guess we're sticking around for a bit longer though."
"Yeah, bet you wish you'd taken me up on that offer for a book," Charlie joshed. "At this rate I should have offered you War and Peace."
"Read it," Colby scoffed. "The first two-thirds was pretty boring."
As Colby sat on the edge of the bed, Charlie let his head hang down, his mood sobering. "They told you?" he asked quietly.
"Not the details, but yes. They did." A moment of silence followed Charlie's nod of acceptance.
"It was just dumb..." Charlie shook his head, annoyed. "They had me scheduled for the MRI, but they pushed it back then pushed it back again. Then we finally went down there to do it and someone was already in there! I got so frustrated..." He paused to calm himself for a moment, taking slow deep breaths. "Next thing I know," Charlie continued, "I'm on the floor looking up at a bunch of nurses staring down at me. If I hadn't been so out of it I'd probably have been embarrassed."
"You're in a hospital, Charlie," Colby reassured him. "You've been injured. You have nothing to be embarrassed about." Almost automatically he put his hand over Charlie's to comfort him, but then drew it back awkwardly, remembering what he'd decided. "I'm sure they didn't think anything of it." He got up off the bed, looked around for a chair and pulled it over to sit a couple of feet from Charlie's bedside.
Charlie just looked at him in that odd sort of way, clearly perplexed.
"Is everything all right?" he asked.
Colby shrugged and sat back in his chair, trying to appear nonchalant. "Sure, why wouldn't it be?"
Charlie stared at him a few more seconds and Colby tried not to squirm under his scrutiny.
"There's something going on with you," he said, his eyes never leaving Colby. "You can't hide it from me. Not for long."
"Charles?" Dr. Forester entered the room and approached the bed. "We've cleared the MRI - for sure this time. If you're ready?"
Charlie got up off the bed - cautiously taking his time - and headed for the door, wagging his finger at Colby even as the doctor tried to lead him away.
"This isn't over. When these tests are done and I get to go home? You and I are going to talk..."