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‘Samar, I’m fine,’ Aram sighed, for what felt like the umpteenth time that day. His stomach was turning somersaults, his head was pounding, and his cheeks felt like they were on fire. It had started with a seemingly, and perfectly innocent headache the day before, that he had assumed was simply a case of having stared at his office computer for an hour or so too long –it happened sometimes, especially when they worked a particularly tough case- but by the next day, when Aram felt like he was about to pass out at his desk, he was pretty sure that innocent headache was actually a case of the awful stomach bug that had been going around the office over the last week.  

Not that he was about to admit it, however. If his team could run around in the field, fighting bad guys and being shot at, he could damn well hold out at his desk for another ninety minutes or so, just to see the case wrapped up with the rest of them.

They were so close, they all knew it. 

‘Uh huh,’ Samar murmured, eyeing the dark rings under his eyes and the paleness in his cheeks. Standing there in the gap that was the thoroughfare between their desks, she was torn between concern that he was about to hit his head on his monitor, and frustration at his stubbornness. ‘You should go home,’ she added gently. She reached across the desk, resting her fingers through his.  
‘But-’ Aram immediately tried to protest; this wasn’t the first time that day that Samar had suggested her go home, nor was she the only person to have suggested it. Even Cooper had tried to order him to go home –which Aram countered on the technicality that the order wasn’t actually an order, because it had been cut off halfway through by Ressler and Liz walking back in from the elevator with a suspect bound for the interrogation room. He was desperate to stay with his team.
’-Please?’ Samar pleaded, speaking over Aram before he could finish his sentence. She gently squeezed his fingers, and Aram wearily bowed his head; it didn’t matter how determined he was, even he knew it was unlikely he would last until it was time for everyone else to go home… Not to mention, they only had interrogations and final statements left for the day. There was little left for him to do. Finally, he glanced up again, shooting her a small, grateful smile. It took Samar all of two steps to wind her way around to the opposite side of the desk, pull his backpack out from under his feet and hand it to him with a small shake of her head, and a gentle kiss to the top of his.  

/*/*/*/*

By the time Samar made her way to his apartment, it was a couple of hours later, and she found Aram sprawled miserably across his bed, half asleep. His eyes flickered open, staring back at her where she stood in the doorway, watching him.  
‘Did you break into my apartment?’ He mumbled, through a sleepy smile.  
‘Is it really breaking in if you gave me a key five months ago?’ Samar gently teased back. ‘I brought dinner,’ she added, gentler this time, as she held up a paper bag with an all too familiar logo; 'that homemade soup from the little corner shop down the street that you like. I figured if I didn’t have time to make you something myself, that would be the next best thing.’
'You didn’t have to do that,’ Aram continued to mumble into his pillow, but his sleepy smile –only barely visible past the covers pulled up to his chin- widened all the same.
'I know,’ Samar murmured back, 'but I wanted to.’ She turned in the doorway, ready to duck into the kitchen and serve the soup into bowls. 'I’ll be back in a minute.’

Aram watched her go, eyes crinkling in contentment. As amazing as he knew that soup was, there was one thing he wanted even more; simply to wrap his arms around Samar and hold her close. He had always been affectionate, and he had always been tactile; brushing a gentle hand against hers in passing, or tucking those forever annoying and loose strands of hair behind her ear, were gestures that came so naturally to him now that they had been together for so long, that half the time Aram didn’t even register that he was doing it. Just her presence there, in his apartment with him now, was already a comfort, as was the soup he could he turning in the familiar buzz of the microwave… He wasn’t going to ask her for any more than that –he was even more worried about her catching the stomach bug from him, than he was wanting to be close to her- but that didn’t stop his half asleep, boggled brain from miserably wishing.  

He was almost asleep again when Samar returned, and she stood in the doorway for a moment, shaking her head as she watched him doze. Aram looked exhausted, and utterly dejected. She knew what he wanted, and exactly why he hadn’t asked –after all, it wasn’t exactly difficult. With a soft smile, she set the bowl of soup on the nightstand, then crawled into the bed beside him, curling onto her side as close to him as she could get, and resting her head on his chest. A deep breath of contentment escaped her as she sank into him; contagious germs be damned. Aram could worry all he liked about sharing them, but Samar didn’t care. All she wanted was for him to feel comfortable while he waited out his immune system’s victory and frankly, they had been close enough the previous night –before Aram’s symptoms really began to show- that if she was going to catch the bug from him, Samar was certain that she had received a more than healthy enough dose of the germs from him already. Surely, a cuddle now would make little difference.

In an instant, she felt Aram’s arm wrap around her waist and settle comfortably there. Another second later, and she heard the quiet, but no less sharp intake of breath that undoubtedly went with his wince in pain at the sudden movement. Aram curled himself around her, burying his face in her hair and all too tired to care about his aching muscles for even a second.  
'I love you,’ he sleepily murmured. The words were muffled by his speaking straight into her hair, but Samar knew what he meant.  
'I love you too,’ she whispered back, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek, 'now, go to sleep.’

A soft noise erupted from Aram’s throat, that Samar took to mean agreement to the plan.

Seconds later again, she felt his breathing slow and even out with slumber, but still she stayed there. The soft smile on her face widened a little more, as she nuzzled into his shoulder and allowed her own eyes to fall closed just as Aram’s had.  

Not that she was anywhere near as likely to admit it as Aram was, Samar was quite comfortable right there, curled into him as well.