Eppie growled low in her throat when she woke up from one of her many naps. Since Aaron had taken away the letter from the friend, she didn't have anything productive to do, and watching the religious channel wasn't high on her to-do-while-in-the-hospital list, she napped an awful lot. She hated naps—they made her feel groggy. But they were better than staring at the blank wall and trying to imagine the manifold ways in which she could hurt Aaron Rale for trying to live with her in the hospital.

It was for this very reason that she was growling as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Aaron was there, slumped over in a tiny and uncomfortable chair in the corner, snoring slightly, undoubtedly thanks to the uncomfortable position he was in.

She glanced around, found the small plastic cup she'd been using to drink out of, and chucked it at his head. It bounced off innocently enough, but didn't wake him up. She sighed, pulled one of the pillows from behind her head, took aim, and fired.

"What? What's wrong?" Aaron said groggily as he tried and failed to jump to attention. "What happened?"

"You happened, you idiot. Get the hell out of my hospital room! Why are you still here?" she demanded. She looked out the window and saw that it was dark outside. Aaron grinned his stupid, lopsided I-know-better-than-you grin and Eppie wanted to smack it off of his face.

"Ep, where am I supposed to go?" he asked gently.

"Home!" she shouted. "Go home, Aaron! You have one!"

"Yes, but you're not there. And it's no longer my home without you in it."

"You're not usually this sentimental. If I'd known you were, I would never have agreed to marry you," she grumbled.

"That's harsh, Ep," he said simply, examining his fingernails. "A guy could really get cut down around you."

"Will you go away?" she asked, rolling her eyes. "You don't have to stay here with me. In fact, I don't want you to. Go back home, get some sleep, and tomorrow I'll be out of here and back with you," she said, trying the more emotional approach.

"I want to be with you now," he said, shrugging.

She sighed. "Please go home, Aaron. Get a good night's sleep in a good bed."

"I don't sleep well without you anymore," he said simply. Eppie searched his face for a hint of humor or the punch line to the joke she felt certain was coming. But he was perfectly sincere.

"Aaron, I'm... I'm sorry. I don't want you staying here with me, sleeping in a chair for God's sake!"

"Then I'll sleep with you," he said, climbing carefully into the bed with her. While he was perfectly toned and wasn't fat at all, he was big, and big just wasn't fitting with her in this bed.

"Aaron, you're squishing me," she said, laughing while she choked.

He got up, smiled down at her, and kissed her forehead gently. He knelt beside her hospital bed and grabbed her hand, still smiling that goofy smile.

"What?" she finally asked suspiciously.

"How is it possible that even when you smell because you haven't showered for four days—"

"I showered yesterday!" she insisted.

"—and your hair is stuck to your forehead because you probably had a bad dream that made you sweat slightly in your sleep... that you're still the most beautiful woman I've ever met?" Eppie's heart skipped a beat, and it was embarrassing because it beeped rather loudly on the heart monitor that they hooked her up to during the night. She glanced at it with narrowed eyes. "How is it possible that you still take my breath away when I look at you?" He smoothed the hair from her forehead, and he was right—it was a little sweaty. "How is it possible that you're mine?" he wondered.

"Aaron, you're scaring me," she whispered. There was something wrong with his tone of voice. This wasn't the I-love-you voice. This was the I'm-going-to-disconnect-you-from-life-support-but-I'll-always-remember-you voice.

He kissed her hand and took a deep breath, swallowed, and then smiled to her. "I'm just trying to tell you how much you mean to me, Eppie."

"Now you're really scaring me," she told him, her voice cracking. "You called me Eppie."

"I always call you Eppie," he mumbled.

"No, you always—"

"Rale!" someone said from the front door. Eppie rolled her eyes and stared over to the door of her hospital room, where Perry and Mason were standing, holding flowers.

"Are you shitting me right now? It's got to be past visiting hours! All of you, get out of here!"

"Here Eppie, these are for you," Perry said, ignoring her and depositing the flowers on her bed stand. "Rale, we've got to talk to you."

Aaron kissed her hand again, stood up, and stepped outside of the room, closing the hospital door. Eppie stayed in her bed for a grand total of three seconds before she was tiptoeing toward the door, dragging her squeaking monitor behind her so that she wouldn't unplug something from her body. She pressed her ear to the door and listened.

"It was the same man, Rale. He wouldn't even listen to us, not even with the list of evidence we pulled out. I mean, we said everything you said, plus everything we could remember. The NYPD aren't going to give it over."

NYPD? Eppie furrowed her brow. What was Aaron trying to do with the NYPD that the FBI couldn't do? She bit her lip and tried to hear more.

"Damn it," Aaron swore. "You'd think that idiot would go home. Doesn't he want to share his donuts with his family?" he said in frustration. "I don't get why this is so hard for them. It's a restraining order, not a license to kill the guy. I could do that anyway."

Eppie's heart sank a little. She was pretty certain she knew where this was going, and she swallowed heavily.

"The cop said there was not enough evidence," Perry said. "Even when he had three witnesses testify to it. He's just a jackass."

"He's a jackass who's going to get Eppie abducted," he growled. "Well, thanks for trying guys. Go on home."

Eppie heard shuffling footsteps and she had just enough time to step back from the door before it was pulled open and Aaron stepped into the room, his head down. When he lifted it and saw Eppie standing there, the look on her face clearly emanating what she was feeling—confusion, anger at being lied to, and fear—he cleared his throat and ran a hand down his face.

"I should have known you'd listen at the door."

"Yes, you should have," she whispered. "What is going on?"

Aaron cleared his throat again and pointed to the hospital bed. "Get back in there, Eppie. You shouldn't be walking around on your leg anyway."

She realized that her leg was throbbing with pain. She hadn't noticed it until he'd mentioned her leg. She hobbled back to the bed, fell into it, and pulled the covers up haphazardly.

"There. Now tell me what's going on."

Aaron sat beside her on the bed. "I tried to get a restraining order from the NYPD... for Michael," he said. "But they wouldn't give me one."

"Why?" she whispered.

"The ass-wipe who I talked to said what I told him were coincidences and wasn't evidence. Perry and Mason apparently had no luck either... talked to the same guy I guess."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Eppie asked.

"I didn't want you to worry," he said in a broken voice. "I want you to feel safe with me. I doubt a restraining order would really do much, but I figured it could at least get him thrown in jail if he came near you again."

"It's ridiculous... we're FBI agents and we can't do anything."

"I can take him in for a day at the most," Aaron growled. "I can't hold him, especially if I don't question him for something."

Eppie nodded and closed her eyes. "You can stay here tonight," she told him. Aaron nodded. She scooted to the very edge of the bed, up against the bed restraints. He slid in next to her.

After twenty minutes, she felt him slip into sleep. His breathing regulated and his chest rose and fell slowly and deeply. Eppie tried to sleep, she really did. But every time she closed her eyes, Michael's eyes were watching her.

Her eyes shot open and she peered around the room, her heart beating wildly. She reached carefully for Aaron's hand and grabbed it. She didn't squeeze—she didn't want to wake him up—but she did hold on for dear life.

"He is not in here," she told herself over and over again. "Plus, I am with Aaron. Nothing will happen to me when I'm with him."

That thought made her feel slightly better. She was with the man she loved, and the man she loved happened to be an FBI agent. Even if she was indisposed and had long gouges in her thigh, he could at least still throw a mean punch.

She hated feeling helpless. She hated feeling like she had no control over anything in her life, and all of a sudden, she was faced with the realization that nothing in her current situation was under her control. She was stuck in the hospital, under the jurisdiction of the head doctor. She was having a baby. It wasn't planned. And now she had no control over how her body changed and reacted. And then there was Michael.

Eppie's eyes darted around the room, sweeping it for any traces of him or his stupid camera. She wanted to throw him out of the window of her hospital room. A fifteen story plunge onto the sidewalk below might do him some good.

Someone outside bumped a cart or something against the wall, and she jumped, swallowing heavily as she stared at the door, waiting for it to open. She took a shaky breath and shifted slightly in the bed.

"Go to sleep, Ep," Aaron muttered from beside her.

"I am asleep," she responded.

She could just see from the light of her monitor as Aaron smirked mirthlessly. "You're very cognizant for being so asleep."

"I can't sleep," she told him.

"I know," he told her. "I can feel the death grip on my hand."

She looked down at their hands and loosened her hold. "I'm sorry."

Aaron took he hand and squeezed it tighter. He leaned over and kissed her cheek and stroked her hair. "I'm sorry," he apologized as well. "I shouldn't have told you. I didn't want you to worry and now that's what you're doing."

"I'm not worrying," she replied. "I'm just... scared," she barely managed to get out.

Aaron gently turned her face so that she was looking directly at him. "Don't be scared. I will literally kill anyone who tries to hurt you, and that is my promise to you."

"What if you're not around to kill them?" she whispered.

"Then I'll never leave your side again. So that I'll always be there to kill them."

Eppie smiled and laughed at the morbid joke. "I knew there was a reason I was marrying you," she whispered in his ear. She clutched his hand and closed her eyes, but it was still hours before she drifted asleep. Aaron stayed awake with her until she slipped into unconsciousness.