a/n a bit of a preview of what chapter 3 will be like. I'm working on it a bit at a time, so patience, lol

Hard Times

He watched silently across the street as Natalie walked out with a man behind her. From the looks of it, she was enjoying herself. He frowned. After this much time, he wondered to himself why he hadn't just moved on. But he seemed to feel an unwillingness to leave this situation alone. He had seen Natalie around this guy before, and he didn't like it. He had made sure it come across clear to her that she wasn't supposed to go digging into the case.

He watched, disappointed when he saw she wasn't driving home alone. He slyly slipped into traffic behind them. I should have just given up.

Tag sighed to himself when Natalie didn't try talking with him while he drove. He knew he should quit aggravating her. But she looked so cute when she was mad. He smiled to himself.

"So…Are you sure you don't want dinner? I know a really good Chinese place that offers carry-out." Tag looked at her back since she was looking out the window. He frowned slightly seeing her shoulders were drooped more than usual.

"Natalie? You okay?"

"I need to go home." She whispered. "Now." Her voice was weak, and when she looked at him, her eyes were filled with pain. Her face was ashen, and she looked like she might faint at any moment. Tag had seen her like this before.

"Did you bring your migraine pills with you?" He asked hurriedly.

"No. I think I left them on my desk at work." She said, leaning her head back against the seat head. Tag sped up, pushing the speed limit as much as he could. After reaching Natalie's home, he used her keys to open the door. He went back to the car and gently lifted her in his arms.

"Make the pain stop, please." She whimpered.

"Soon, sweetheart. Just hold on." Tag felt his heart constrict. He didn't like seeing her in pain.

"Um, which room is your's?" He asked quietly, looking down the dark hallway.

"Somewhere…" Natalie said incoherently. Tag just decided to go from room to room. After the third door, he came to what he assumed was her room. He laid her on the bed, and took her shoes off. He then pulled down the sheets from one side of the bed and maneuvered Natalie to where she could go beneath the sheets. After he had her situated, he went looking for her migraine medicine.

Before he could take the medicine back to her, he heard her getting up and running to what he assumed was the bathroom. He paused outside the bathroom door holding the pills and a glass of water.

"Nat? You okay in there?" Not waiting for an answer, he pushed the door open and peaked in. Natalie was slumped on the bathroom floor tears dripping down her face. Tag deposited the items in his hands and gently picked her up. He held her to his chest and stroked her hair out of her face. Her eyes were scrunched shut because the light was bothering her. Tag reached behind him to shut them off. Holding her quietly in his arms in the dark sent a new awareness through him.

"Nat, you need to take some pain pills. Do you think you can keep them down?" He murmured in her ear.

"Mhm." She silently murmured back. Tag gently set her up against the wall so he could retrieve the things off the counter. He held the pills to her lips and helped her with the water.

"I'm going to pick you up and take you back to your room, okay?"

Natalie gently nodded her head. Tag leaned over and picked her up as softly as possible. Her face was more ashen than before, and he frowned and wondered how she dealt with her stressful job without more migraines. After making sure she was settled in, he went looking for a bucket to put by her bed in case she got sick again.

Then, making one last check, he made his way to her living room. She had decorated it in modern architecture style. Her one wall was an entire wall of glass. Bits of modern art were scattered around the room. She had a stairway leading to an overlooking loft and from his point of view, he could see her flat screen TV, sound system, and all the other electronic gadgets she owned.

He settled in on the couch. Shaking his head, he knew that whatever he planned on doing, his mind would always stray back there. He chuckled to himself. He was in deep.

Natalie woke up to a dark room. She moved her head slightly and it sent a little ripple pain through her head. She moved her hand to press her temples. The migraine wasn't as severe, but she knew she needed to nip it in the bud if she wanted to be able to work the next day. She reached over and felt the migraine pills. She also noticed Tag had left a glass of ice water sitting on a coaster by her bed.

Pulling herself up, she swallowed the pills and got up. Her head spun for a bit but cleared up. She padded out to the living room. She smiled when she saw Tag had fallen asleep on the couch in front of the TV. It was silently playing the tune to MASH. She picked up the remote and shut it off. Deciding to let him sleep, she padded out to the kitchen. A glass of fruit juice was sounding good to get the nasty taste out of her mouth.

She heard some slight noise and turned. Tag was standing in the kitchen doorway rubbing his eyes. His already mussed hair was in an array. He smiled softly at her.

"You should have called for me," he said with a slight croak from just waking up.

"I didn't know you were still here," Natalie said.