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~*~ ONE ~*~

“Mmm,” Lizzie moans. Ray had surprised her, showing up early after his ‘business’ trip. He had snuck into the house while Lizzie was making coffee.

He had walked into the house. It is quiet except for a rustling noise coming from the kitchen. He sees Lizzie standing at the counter, making a cup of coffee on the Keurig that is sitting on the counter. He quietly places his hat onto one of the stools at the island, having already discarded his jacket by the front door. He waits until Lizzie places her cup onto the counter before wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him. She lets out a gasp as Ray spins her around and places her onto the island. She smiles when she realizes Ray was standing in front of her.

“When did you get back?” she asks wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him toward her.

“This morning,” he tells her pulling her into a kiss.

“Mmm,” she moans feeling his hands starting to wander under her shirt. She moves his hands and tries to push him away. He clamps his hands onto her hips firmly before pulling her even closer to him. “Ray,” she gasps out. “Ray,” she tries again.

“What?” he asks against her lips.

There was a throat clearing behind them and Ray finally breaks the kiss. They both turn to see Mr. Kaplan standing in the entry way of the kitchen. She was in a pair of light blue pajamas and a bathrobe. Her glasses were on and her hair already done. Lizzie blushes, burying her face into Ray’s neck.

“Raymond,” she says walking into the room.

“Kate,” he says finally finding his voice. “What are you doing here?”

Lizzie clears her throat. “I…uh… I called her. Nora’s been fighting a cold. It finally came on full force last night. She was utterly miserable. I called Kate asking if could come and sit with Nora while I ran to the drug store. We were out of baby Tylenol and ibuprofen. She offered to pick it up instead seeing as she was already out. I offered her the guest room since she was willing to come here and drop it off.” Ray looks concerned. He steps back from Lizzie and heads out of the kitchen and up the stairs. “Ray, she’s sleeping.” She follows him up the stairs and into Nora’s bedroom.

“She’s not here. Where is she?” he asks.

“Our room,” Lizzie tells him. He rushes past her and into their room. She follows him and watches as he lifts Nora out of the pack ‘n’ play that was placed next to their bed. She sleepily opens her eyes as Ray sits down onto their bed.

“Hey babygirl,” he coos. She gives him a big smile and lays her head onto his chest, yawning.

“Ray, she’s fine. I called her doctor yesterday, because I was worried. She wasn’t really eating and she didn’t want to nurse. She assured me that because she was stuffed up, she wouldn’t really want to use a bottle or nurse. That I should watch her temp and if it went really high to bring her into the ER. But it didn’t really get high enough to warrant a visit to the ER. She was hot, so I gave her a cool bath and gave her some Tylenol when Kate got here.” she wraps her arm around him, putting her head onto his shoulder. They both look down at their daughter, who brought her fist up to her mouth and was sucking on it. She was still awake, but her eyes were drooping closed.

“Why didn’t you call Ressler, or Aram or Samar?” he asks looking at Lizzie. He looks down at the hand she has on his shoulder and grins when he sees the ring on her finger.

It had taken her awhile to give him and answer, but when she did, he couldn’t have been happier. She told him ‘yes’ in the most spectacular way. The first time they were together since Nora had been born was when she whispered ‘yes’ to him.

“Ressler and Samar were on a stakeout. I was supposed to be with him, but when the daycare at the PO called and said Nora was sick, Cooper told me to go get her and take her home. So, obviously, Samar went in my place. Aram was watching monitors and keeping an eye on things so he couldn’t. I would have gone, but I didn’t want to take her out.”

“Why were they on a stakeout? And how come Ressler didn’t tell me when I saw him this morning?” he asks. Lizzie looks at him questioningly. “I stopped by the see how everything was going with the name I gave you. He told me you weren’t coming in, but that he didn’t know why.” He runs his hand over Nora’s back. She scrunches her legs up and lets out a whine. “Papa’s got you sweet girl,” he whispers dropping a kiss onto her head.

“Come on, let’s get into bed. Let’s have a family snuggle,” Lizzie tells him. She crawls onto the bed first and then watches as he lays down next to her, trying not to jostle their now sleeping daughter. He moves closer to the middle of the bed and places an extra pillow next to him. Lizzie snuggles closer to him, laying her head on his shoulder, an arm across his stomach and a leg over his. She brings a blanket over the three of them and sighs happily. “Glad to have you home. We missed you.”

“I missed you as well sweetheart,” he says yawning.

She giggles before laying a kiss onto his cheek. “Not sleeping?” she asks as he closes his eyes.

“I rarely can when I'm away from you two,” he mutters. “It seems to be a problem. Maybe you two should come with me from now on.” She could tell that he was fighting sleep.

“Sleep Ray. We’re right here,” she whispers into his ear. She could tell when he finally let the sandman come. The arm lying across Nora’s back went slack. The rigidness that his body held disappeared. She slips out of bed and carefully maneuvers the sleeping baby out from under Ray’s arm and slips her back into the pack ‘n’ play. She covers her and then slips back into bed next to Ray. She really was glad that he was back home.

Even though he didn’t stay with them all the time because of security, he stayed when he could. He didn’t want them the end up like his first ‘family’. He cherished Nora and Lizzie. He would set a firing squad upon himself if anything were to happen to either of them.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Ray’s eyes flutter open, blinking against the light filled room. He reaches over to the nightstand, trying to reach for his glasses. He hears a giggle next to him as he fumbles blindly for them. He feels them being put into his other hand. He finally sits up while putting them on. He looks over at Lizzie who was leaning back against the bed while nursing Nora.

“Hello,” he grins at the two.

She smiles softly at him. “Hi,” she says. He runs his hand over Nora’s head before leaning down and giving it a light kiss. “You, Mr. Reddington, are a miracle worker.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve been called a lot of things. ‘Miracle worker’ is not one of them. But do tell, why am I a miracle worker?”

“I think she wanted her Papa. Before you got home, she wouldn’t eat. Didn’t want to nurse. I even tried to give her a bottle. But she didn’t want anything. You get home and she decides she wants to nurse. You can never leave. That’s all there is to it,” she tells him. He smiles and wraps his arm around her, bringing the two of them flush against each other.

“As much as I would love to never leave you two, I have to. Have to keep up appearances. I wish I could have a nine-to-five, but then we most likely wouldn’t have met that way. Besides, where’s the fun in that?” he asks.

“I know,” she says softly. “When do you have to leave again?”

“Few days,” he whispers, wrapping his hand around her head and pulling it toward him. They share a few kisses, not wanting to bother Nora. There would always be time to reconnect later. But this moment was for them as a family.

~*~ TBL ~*~

He was working on something, but rather than tell her he was keeping it close to the vest. He had stopped into the PO the other day, giving them the next name on the list before turning to Lizzie and asking to talk to her in her office. After they walked into the office he had told her he had to leave for a few days to attend to some business.

Ray had given her a quick kiss not caring about Lizzie’s no PDA rule at work. They had gone to see Nora at their little PO day care before Ray had led Lizzie outside to where the car was parked with Dembe sitting in the driver’s seat.

She had gestured to Dembe to roll down the window and as he did she leaned down to look at the bodyguard. “Keep him safe Dembe.”

He grinned at her. “Always, Liz.”

She broke her own rule at that point and throws her arms around him, while burying her face into his neck. She breathes his scent in before stepping away. He takes her hands into his, bringing them up to his mouth and giving them a kiss. “I love you Lizzie.”

“Love you too,” she replied. “Come home to us. You have to come home for Nora. She needs her Papa.”

“This is just a meeting Lizzie. I will be home in a few days,” he gets into the car and she watches as they drive away.

~*~ TBL ~*~

It had been a great few days with Ray. Nora had slowly gotten over her cold and seemed to be in better spirits. She had bonded with her Papa and the two couldn’t have been closer. She had him wrapped around her little finger.

It dawned bright and early on the morning of Ray’s leaving. Lizzie was the first to wake, wanting to spend a little more time with him before he left. She was wrapped around him, not that be minded.

He turns in his sleep, facing her. She takes the time to look at him. She lays her hand onto his cheek. He suddenly wraps his arms around her, pulling her flush against him.

“Oh,” she giggles. “How long have you been awake?”

“Long enough,” he tells her.

“How long will you be gone?” she asks.

He sighs, laying his forehead against hers. “About a week or so. I am doing this to keep you and Nora safe.”

It’s her time to sigh. “I know. I just worry about you.”

He kisses her before pulling back and looking into her eyes. “I know. And I love you all the more for it. No one has loved me as you and Nora do in a long time. And I thank you every day for giving me a chance and for saying yes.” He lifts her hand with the ring on it and gives it a kiss. She wraps her arms around him and starts to kiss him when the baby monitor on the nightstand comes to life with Nora’s cooing. She laughs as they untangle themselves from each other. She sits up while he lays back and watches her. “I’ve been meaning to ask,” he says as she pulls her bathrobe on.

“Yes?” she asks.

“Where did you get the necklace? It’s not something I’ve seen before.”

She smirks at him as she leaves the room. He could hear her talking to Nora. He listens as she changes Nora’s diaper and making their daughter giggle. She was an amazing mother.

They come back into the bedroom with Lizzie handing Nora to Ray. Nora gives him a big smile and a giggle as he tickles her. Lizzie loved to see the two of them together. Loved to see this side that no one really ever gets to see. “So the necklace?” he asks not looking up from Nora.

“Ressler got it for me. He knew how much I hated taking my ring off. So one morning he got this for me. So if I really needed to take my ring off, I could put it on the necklace and still have it on me.” She turns when Ray doesn’t respond. He was staring in her direction with a grin on his face.

“Okay,” he finally responds. He gets up, putting Nora down onto a blanket in the corner of the room that had a few toys on it. The two then start to get ready for the day. They take turns in the shower, but both really wanting to shower together. They moved around each other seamlessly. He stops her briefly after he was dressed, giving her a kiss. “How about when I get back we take a weekend? I'm sure I can talk to Harold. Just the three of us.”

“With Dembe,” she supplies.

“Well, of course.”

“And Kate,” Lizzie says.

“Kate?” he questions.

“Well, yes. Nora just adores her. And the sentiment is mutual.”

“Oh, yes, I'm sure it is. But Kate isn’t really a beach person Lizzie.”

Lizzie shrugs and gives him a quick kiss. “Well, a beach weekend sounds excellent. I'm sick of being cold. It will be nice to be back on the beach again. After spending so much time when I was pregnant, I miss it.”

“Alright, well, talk to Harold when you go in. I'm going downstairs to talk to Dembe.”

“Will you get Nora dressed?” she asks. “I’ve left an outfit on the changing table.”

He wraps his arms around her once again, bringing her flush against him. He pulls her face to his and kisses her. She wraps her arms around him, moaning into his mouth.

“Raymond, we have to get going,” Dembe calls up the stairs.

“I own the jet Dembe. William will wait till we get there,” he yells back. He pushes Lizzie back toward the bed as she laughs. Needless to say they were both late that morning. Lizzie walked into the PO almost an hour late.

Ressler looks at her as she drops her bag and jacket on her desk. He looks at the smile on her face and shakes his head, laughing. “I don’t wanna know,” he tells her.

“You probably don’t,” she says back. The smile wouldn’t leave her face even as she gave Cooper and the rest of the team the name Ray had given her that morning.

Chapter Text

TWO
Disclaimer is on my profile

~*~ TBL ~*~

The next week went by rather slowly. They had finally tracked the blacklister down after a few days. Ray, of course, had helped. Giving Lizzie a few more clues to help them. They had only talked a few times since Ray was paranoid about his vulnerability being found out. Her. And Nora.

Dembe had called her at the week mark telling her that they weren’t going to be home for a few more days. Lizzie knew that they could handle themselves, but at the same time she was worried. It wasn’t like them to go that long without calling. And everyone at the PO was getting antsy. Yeah, they had paperwork and other things they could be doing, but their priority was the blacklist.

Lizzie looks across the desk to where Ressler was sitting as he sighs. She smiles, knowing that he was just as bored as everyone else. They were all on edge waiting for the next name. Cooper kept asking if she had heard anything from Reddington and she would frown every time.

All their paperwork had been done and now they were just waiting for Ray to come back. “Why don’t you polish a gun or something?” Lizzie asks, squinting at the computer screen in front of her. She rubs her eyes as everything gets blurry for a moment. She had been staring at the screen for way too long. Ray really needed to get his ass back here. Just the thought of him brings a smile to her face. She couldn’t wait to see him. She missed him and she knew that Nora missed him. She was slowly becoming more aware of the world around them and every time their front door opened she would try to look towards the door waiting to see if her Papa would be there.

Her phone rings and she looks at it to see ‘hubby’ flash across the screen. It was Ray’s way of trying to be funny. “Ray?” she questions starting to laugh as Ressler lets out another sigh.

“Liz?” she hears Dembe question. He sounded different, off somehow.

“Dembe? What’s wrong?” she asks. Something blooms inside of her stomach. Something she couldn’t quite identify.

“How fast can you get to George Washington?”

“’George Washington?’” she questions, her mind going blank. She knew what was coming before she even knew what was coming. She starts breathing harder while placing her hand onto her desk trying to keep herself in the here and now and not letting her mind wander to all the possibilities of what Dembe was implying.

“University Hospital,” Dembe mutters quietly. Ressler looks up as Lizzie’s phone clatters to the desk. He gets up and rushes over, scooping up the phone and conversing quietly with Dembe. He looks at his partner worriedly seeing her glassy but unseeing eyes. Ressler pockets Lizzie’s phone before helping her out of the chair and toward the center of the PO.

“Aram, Samar,” Ressler calls out. The two agents turn as he deposits a despondent Lizzie into a chair. “I'm gonna grab Nora from the daycare. Reddington is in the hospital and it isn’t looking good. Dembe just called Liz, I'm gonna bring her to the hospital. Can one of you bring Cooper up to speed when he gets out of his meeting?” they both nod before he guides Lizzie out of the chair and toward the elevator.

He brings her out to the car before sticking her in the passenger seat. He gets into the driver’s seat and starts the car. He drives around the corner and rushes out before running into the daycare that was attached to the PO. He comes back out a few minutes later holding onto Nora’s car seat and her diaper bag. He straps her into the backseat before taking off toward the hospital.

He was worried about Lizzie. She hadn’t responded since she had gotten the phone call. She blinks a few times as Nora starts crying. “Ressler?” she asks as a few tears leak out of her eyes.

“How are you holding up?” he asks. She turns as Nora lets out another wail. She could see her daughter’s hands waving wildly.

“I don’t know. I'm numb Ress. I don’t know what to think. I can't lose him. I don’t know what I'm gonna do if I lose him. I can't…” she gasps out. Ressler lays his hand over hers and she grips it while a few tears leak out of her eyes. They get to the hospital a few minute later, Lizzie a little more calmly than before.

They see Dembe standing in the ambulance bay as they pull up. Lizzie rushes up to Dembe and he gathers her into his arms. “What happened Dembe?” she asks. He looks up as Ressler walks over carrying Nora’s seat and her diaper bag. Lizzie takes the diaper bag from Ressler while Dembe takes the seat.

“I'm going to go park the car. Where are you guys heading?” he asks.

“The surgical floor,” Dembe replies already leading Lizzie towards the elevators. Dembe stabs the up button and the two wait in silence.

“Dembe, what happened?” Lizzie asks quietly as they get onto the empty elevator.

“We were just getting ready to board the jet when the people we had been dealing with showed up. There were no words, they just took out their guns and started shooting. I was already on board, as was Mr. Kaplan. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I know basic medical stuff, but she knows far more than me. We managed to get the stairs up and out of there before they came on board, but the damage was done. Raymond was hit a few times. We had an ambulance waiting when we landed. They rushed him into surgery when we finally got here.”

Dembe leads her down to where Ray’s room was. Dembe takes the diaper bag off of Lizzie’s shoulder and pushes her toward the room. Lizzie turns and takes Nora out of her seat and holds her close. Lizzie takes a deep breath before entering Ray’s room. She pulls a chair as close to his bed as was possible before sitting down. She takes his cold hand into hers, finally allowing the tears to fall. “Oh Ray,” she gasps out. “Come back to us. We need you.” She leans back in the chair, settling Nora onto her chest. She closes her eyes and says a little prayer. She wasn’t a religious person by any means, but she hoped to God or whoever was listening to not let Ray die.

She turns sharply as the door opens. Ressler walks in the room carrying Nora’s blanket. He drapes the blanket over Nora’s back before placing a hand onto Lizzie’s shoulder.

“How’s he doing?” he asks.

“I don’t know. He looks stable,” she shrugs. “I haven’t talked to the doctor or anything. Dembe might be able to help you a little more.”

They both turn as they notice someone standing in the doorway. They see the doctor standing there, looking over a chart. “Doctor, I'm Agent Donald Ressler, FBI.” He pulls out his badge to show the doctor.

“I hear my patient is special,” he says. “Well, no matter what, we will still give him the same care as the rest.”

“How is he?” Lizzie asks, sitting up and pulling the doctor’s gaze away from Ressler.

“My partner, Agent Elizabeth Scott is his fiancé,” Ressler points to Ray. They converse for a few minutes. The doctor explains what happened to Ray and how they repaired everything. She let Ressler take control of the meeting with the doctor while she sat back holding onto her daughter and Ray’s hand. She heard a few things from the doctor ‘blood type’ ‘shortage’ ‘donors’.

She didn’t even notice when Ressler and Dembe walked out of the room. She just held onto Ray’s hand a little tighter. It was awful seeing him like this. Wires and tubes running everywhere. He had this larger than life presence about him, and to see him like this was heart breaking. She turns to see Dembe walking into the room as the doors open.

“We have to talk Liz,” he tells her. She nods, pulling Nora, who was now sleeping, closer to her. “The doctor was telling me that there was a blood shortage. We all need to give blood. But what’s worse is that we need to contact his ex-wife,” he explains quietly.

“Naomi?” she questions. She shakes her head. “Or, Carla, or whatever the hell she’s calling herself now. If my memory serves, Ray sent her and her husband off into the sunset. Gave them new identities. And when Ray wants someone to disappear, they disappear.”

“I know where she is,” Dembe tells her. “I keep track of her. As per Raymond’s request.” Lizzie turns and narrows her eyes at the bodyguard.

“What?” she asks. “What are you talking about?”

Dembe shakes his head. “”It’s not what you are thinking. I just make sure that she is okay. Unless its life or death, Raymond doesn’t want to know. I deal with all of that.” Lizzie shakes her head. She turns to look at Ray once again. Only he would want to keep tabs his ex-wife.

“So this means I have to leave him?” she asks holding onto Ray’s hand a little tighter. She loathed to leave him. What if he woke and she wasn’t here? What if something happened to him and she wasn’t here? She didn’t want to leave him. But if finding his ex-wife, again, would help in the long run she would do it.

“You have until Will has the jet ready. Which shouldn’t be long. We keep the jet gassed in case we need to make a quick getaway.”

“I might need to stop at the house. Pick up a few things for Nora,” Lizzie says absentmindedly. She was focused more on Ray than Dembe.

“Raymond started keeping it stocked with things for Nora. Just in case. For you as well. There’s clothes for the both of you, diapers and wipes for Nora.”

A few tears fall down her face as she stares at her fiancé. She gets up, tightening her grip on her sleeping daughter before leaning over and placing a kiss onto Ray’s forehead. “Hang on love. I’ll be back soon,” she whispers. She follows Dembe out of Ray’s room, down the hallway and eventually out of the hospital.

“Agent Ressler and Mr. Kaplan will look after Raymond. Nothing will happen to him,” he tells her. She nods as they get into the car and Lizzie places Nora into her seat. After buckling her, Dembe starts the car and then they were off. Dembe maneuvering through the late afternoon DC traffic. Soon they were pulling into the private airstrip that Ray usually used and to the hangar where he stored his plane. It was waiting for them, the stairs were down. Will was standing at the top, greeting them as they started up.

“We need to leave as soon as possible,” Dembe tells the pilot. Will nods before bringing the stairs up and then heads towards the cockpit. Lizzie gets Nora settled and then sits down in the seat next to her. Dembe takes a seat across from her and they buckle their belts as the jet starts to move. Soon they were lifting off and in the air. “How are you doing?” he asks quietly.

“I don’t know. He has this larger than life presence about him, and now he’s fighting for his life. I can't lose him Dembe, I can't. What’s going to happen to us? To me and Nora? We can't live without him Dembe,” tears rush down her face like a waterfall. She squeezes her eyes shut, trying to stem the flow of the tears, but it was no use. She feels a pair of hands on her knees. She looks up to see Dembe kneeling in front of her.

“Yes, he’s fighting for his life right now. But he needs you to be strong. He needs all of us to be strong for him right now. And if he does lose his fight? Then I will be here, along with Mr. Kaplan and everyone else. We will not leave you or Nora. You two are his life. Be strong for him and for your little girl.”

A few more tears escape her eyes as she nods, taking in Dembe’s words. She watches as he gets up and pulls his phone out. Lizzie watches as Dembe converses with whomever was on the other end. He sits back down and turns to look out the window.

“Where are we going anyway?” she asks.

“Washington,” he tells her. “Seattle, to be more precise.”

“You mean to tell me that Naomi and her husband have been just across the country the entire time?” Lizzie asks with a raised eyebrow, her voice raising.

Dembe shrugs. “She has been. Not sure about the husband. He disappeared shortly after the move.”

“Disappeared? Or disappeared?”

Dembe shrugs again. “Raymond didn’t have him killed or anything like that. I think he just moved on. He didn’t stay with Carla long after. Personally, I think she caught him cheating on her again and kicked him out. I didn’t bother to check it out. He’s out of her life, that’s all that Raymond cared about. Since then she has taken in a roommate. I'm not sure who she is. All I know is that Carla seems happy.”

Lizzie nods and they lapse into silence. It wasn’t an awkward silence by any means. While they were ‘on the run’, things had become easy between the two. They could sit in companionable silence for hours, each lost in their own thoughts. It was the same now. Lizzie says a silent prayer for Ray, hoping he lives to see another day. Lives to see his daughter grow up.

Nora lets out a happy squeal, breaking Lizzie out of her thoughts. She turns and smiles at her daughter. The rest of the flight was spent doing their own things, Dembe was on and off the phone, talking to who she didn’t know. While she spent some time sitting on the floor, playing with Nora.

“Liz, look,” Dembe tells her. Lizzie gets up holding onto Nora while walking over to her seat and looking out the window. The sun was setting, giving them a spectacular view of the Seattle skyline. Lizzie settles Nora into her seat as they begin their descent. They finally stop outside of a hangar and the door opens. “Welcome to Seattle.”

Chapter Text

~*~ THREE ~*~

Lizzie blinks slowly against sleep, as she leans back in the supple leather of the Mercedes’ back seat. Dembe had led her down the stairs and into the black sedan that was waiting for them right outside the hangar. She was exhausted, but that’s what happened when you sat at the bedside of the love of your life and worried about them. It exhausts you, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She watches as the scenery flies by. Dembe drives them towards the suburbs of Seattle. They soon pull up to a gorgeous house. There was a well-manicured lawn and a stone pathway to the driveway as well as to the sidewalk. A bright red door and red shutters stood out against the white of the house.

“Is she home?” Lizzie asks as they get out of the car. Dembe nods.

“The driveway loops towards the back of the house. She usually parks back there.”

Lizzie walks to the other side of the car and gets Nora out of the seat. She pulls the diaper bag onto her shoulder and wraps Nora in her blanket. She takes a deep breath before the two walk up the walkway. She raises her hand to knock, but the door swings open. They both look to see Carla/Naomi or whatever her name happened to be at this time, standing there.

“I’ve been watching you guys since you pulled up. Agent Keen, I was surprised to see you here. With him,” she motions towards Dembe who was keeping an eye out. “I was expecting Raymond.”

“That’s why I'm here,” Lizzie says solemnly. She was trying hard to keep it together, but a tear falls anyway. She wipes it away quickly hoping the other woman didn’t see, but she did. Naomi ushers them into the house and leads them into the living room.

“Can I get you two anything?” Dembe shakes his head as Lizzie clears her throat.

“Water, please,” she says. Naomi nods before disappearing into what Lizzie assumed was the kitchen. “I don’t think I can do this,” she whispers to Dembe, laying her forehead onto his shoulder.

He squeezes her hand briefly. “Yes you can. Do it for Raymond, and for your daughter.”

They look up to see Naomi standing in the doorway holding a bottle of water. “I didn’t…uh…realize you two were…”

Lizzie catches onto what she was implying. “No, no. I love Dembe, I do. But no. Things have changed drastically since we last spoke. Obviously,” she motions to Nora. “We are here for a specific reason.” Naomi nods. “I need your help.”
“My help? Why isn’t Raymond here asking for my help?”

“He is incapacitated right now,” Dembe tells her.

Naomi looks alarmed. “Incapacitated how?” she asks. “Am I in danger?”

Lizzie shakes her head. “No. You are okay. Ray…he, uh…” she blinks back a few tears. “He’s in the hospital. He’s…not doing too well,” Lizzie shuts down, burying her face into Nora.

Dembe rubs her back and then turns to see Naomi try to smother her gasp. “Oh, you two are…” she trails off. “I thought she looked like Jennifer, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous.”

“Yes, Nora is theirs,” Dembe tells the stunned ex-wife. Naomi could only stare at the little girl in Lizzie’s arms. “We wouldn’t be asking, but this is life or death. The hospital is facing a blood shortage. I know you don’t have the same blood type, but we were hoping you knew how to get in touch with Jennifer. They do share the same blood type.”

“I don’t know where she is,” Naomi tells them before the words were even out of Dembe’s mouth.

Lizzie and Dembe exchange looks. “No offense, Mrs. Hyland, or whatever name Ray gave to you, but I don’t think you are telling us the truth.”

Naomi shakes her head. “I already told Raymond the last time I saw him that I didn’t know where she is. When she got old enough to find out what he did, she took off.”

“And what did you tell her that he did? That he was a part of something he didn’t want to be. That he was a part of something that very nearly cost him his life and almost cost a little girl her life. That he saved the life of that little girl that night. That he came home to you guys one night only to find blood and nothing else. That he mourned for you two, his family, because he thought you were dead. That night in December he went from being Raymond Reddington, family man, to Raymond Reddington Concierge of Crime. My fiancé is in the hospital right now and he might not wake up. What are you going to tell your daughter then? That you let him die because you didn’t…” she trails off taking a deep breath. “You might not love him anymore, and that’s fine. I understand that. But I do, I love him. I am going to marry him. I will not lose him and I will not let my daughter lose her father.”

Naomi looks down, but stays quiet. She didn’t have an answer for the agent sitting across from her. She looks at Lizzie who had tears running down her face, while the man next to her rubbed her back, comforting her. “You know what? Forget it. I knew it was a long shot coming here,” Lizzie gets up and Dembe follows suit. “If I have to, I will search for her myself. Ray has pictures and he also has a Glen,” with that statement Dembe smirks.

“A Glen?” Naomi questions.

Lizzie nods, before hoisting Nora onto her hip. “A Glen. He can find anyone.” She marches to the front door and then out to the car. She could feel Naomi’s eyes on her as they get into the car and she buckles Nora into her eat. Lizzie angrily wipes the tears off her face as they drive off.

“What are you going to do now?” Dembe asks looking at her through the rearview mirror.

“I am going to go and see Ray first. Get some sleep second. And then, I am going to take the pictures Ray has of Jennifer to Aram to see if he can do an age progression of Jennifer. Then you can take those pictures to Glen to see if he can track her down. It might take a while, but I have faith that he can do this. If he can track down Berlin’s daughter, then he can track down Jennifer.”

Dembe grins at her as he continues to drive. Lizzie watches as Dembe pulls out his cell phone and talks to Will, telling him to have the jet ready to go. She yawns as they pull up to the jet almost an hour after they had landed. She grabs Nora’s seat before walking up the steps and into the cabin.

“This was a waste of time. I should have known she wasn’t going to help,” Lizzie tells Dembe.

He shrugs his shoulders. “It was worth a shot. I know she cares about him in her own way, but that was just cold.”

“I think she knows where Jennifer is, she just doesn’t want to tell us. Did you notice how before you even finished what you were saying she just chimed in? Come on, does she think we are stupid or something? I'm an FBI profiler and you are probably one of the smartest and well-read people I know. Ray wouldn’t have you as his right hand man if that wasn’t the case.”

Dembe smiles at her. “Thank you.”

“It’s the truth.”

~*~ TBL ~*~

As soon as they landed back in DC, they headed back to the hospital. To Lizzie’s surprise, Samar was sitting outside of Ray’s hospital room. “How is he doing?” Lizzie asks.

“From what I can tell, there has been no change,” Samar tells her.

“I thought Agent Ressler was supposed to be here,” Dembe says looking between the two.

“The man has to sleep sometime. As much as you guys think Ressler is some sort of robot or something, he’s not. He was exhausted, so he called Cooper and Cooper sent me. Aram is on next shift.”

“Aram?” Lizzie asks surprised.

Samar nods. “Yeah, he volunteered. He said something about firing a gun when the Post Office was compromised and that you would take him to the gun range to help him get better. You told him, that just because he worked the technical…”

“Gadgets that he shouldn’t not know how to fire a gun. Because you never know when something like that happens again,” Lizzie finishes while nodding. She leans down and takes Nora out of her seat.

“Do you want me to keep her out here?” Samar asks.

“No, thanks. We are not going to stay long. I'm exhausted and she needs to sleep in her crib tonight. We just wanted so say goodnight to Papa. Isn’t that right Nora?” she asks giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek and making the baby giggle. Lizzie then walks into Ray’s room and takes a deep breath. She moves the chair from where it was halfway across the room to next to his bed. She lays Nora down in between his body and his arm. She takes a seat, then takes his hand. She watches as Nora squirms for a moment before rolling over so she was on her stomach. She picks her head up and grins. The grin drops on Nora’s face and her bottom lip starts to jut signaling she was going to start to cry. Lizzie rubs her back in a comforting manner. “Come back to us Ray. We need you. She needs you and I definitely need you. I cannot do this by myself. Please wake up,” she pleads. She continues to stare at him, but nothing happens. She lets go of his hand before standing up. She scoops up Nora before leaning down and placing a kiss onto his forehead. “We love you and I will be back tomorrow.” She stops at the doorway and then turns back and gives Ray one last look before walking out. She places Nora into her seat before looking at Samar. “Anything changes and you call me. I don’t care if it’s the middle of the night. You call me.”

“I will do that,” Samar says nodding.

“What time is Aram coming in? I need him to work his computer magic for me.”

“I'm not sure. I just got here not too long ago, so he should be at the Post Office in the morning.”

Lizzie nods before slipping the diaper bag over her shoulder and grabbing Nora’s seat. She walks out of the hospital to find Dembe standing and talking on the phone. He gets off the phone as she approaches. “Ready to go home?” he asks. Lizzie nods. He takes the seat from her and they walk to the car in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. “How is Raymond?”

“Same,” Lizzie says. “Dembe, I didn’t ask, but should we be expecting something more from the people that did this? Are they going to try and finish the job?”

Dembe shakes his head. “That’s who I was on the phone with. One of our assets. And the guys that did this, well, they think they killed him. So that’s good for us. Our asset will keep us apprised if anything else goes down.”

“Alright,” she says. She lays her head back and stares out at the sights as they drive through DC. They finally pull up to the house and Lizzie lets out a sigh of relief. She pulls her tired body of the car and Dembe follows holding Nora’s seat.

Lizzie gets a sleeping Nora out of her seat and slowly walks up the stairs. She lays the girl in her crib before making sure the nightlight and baby monitor was on. She walks out of the room, leaving the door open a crack. She walks down to her room and immediately starts discarding her suit, leaving it on the floor as she went. She would pick it all up tomorrow. She heads to the closet and pulls out one of Ray’s button downs. She pulls it on, breathing in Ray’s scent finally allowing the tears to fall.

She crawls into bed, breathing in Ray’s fading scent from his pillow. Finally letting go.

Chapter Text

Lizzie wakes the next morning feeling like crap. Between the paperwork and sitting in the hospital to the flight to and from Seattle, it was taking a toll. She lays in bed listening to the soft cooing coming from the baby monitor. She was going to have to get up soon knowing that Nora would start fussing to get someone to pay attention to her. She was like her Papa in that way. She hugs Ray’s pillow tighter to her, having finally fallen asleep breathing in his almost faded scent. She couldn’t live without him.

Nora starts fussing and Lizzie pulls herself out of the bed and down the hall to her room. She grins as she walks into the room and leans over the side of the crib. “Hey, baby girl,” she coos.

Nora smiles. “Mama!” Nora squeals.

Lizzie starts laughing while scooping Nora up and hugging her. She walks down the stairs and finds Dembe in the kitchen drinking a cup of what she assumed was coffee. “Dembe, she just said Mama!”

Dembe grins widely. “Liz, that’s amazing. Raymond will be happy. He’s been looking forward to the day she said her first word.” Dembe holds his hands out to Nora but the girl cuddles into Lizzie.

“Mama,” she says simply. The two adults both grin.

“I'm gonna go and get her changed. Can you go into Ray’s office and grab the pictures of Jennifer? He has them in a box in the back of his bottom right drawer.” Dembe nods his head already getting up. “Thank you Dembe. I'm going to stop into the post office for a few hours and have Aram run an age progression on the pictures. Then I will swing by the hospital for a little bit and sit with Ray. Do you think you can make contact with Glen?”

“I can. I'm not as good as threatening him as Raymond is though,” he chuckles.

Lizzie giggles. “And he is very good at that.”

“I have to have the age progression pictures when I go and see Glen. I know the basics for Jennifer that should be all he requires,” Dembe tells Lizzie.

“Alright, I can get those pictures to you as soon as Aram finishes. It shouldn’t take too long. At least, I hope.”

The two go their separate ways, Dembe to the office and Lizzie upstairs and into Nora’s room. Lizzie lays her down on the changing table handing her a little stuffed elephant Ray had picked up on one of his “business” trips. Nora squeals as she grabs the elephant and stuffs the trunk into her mouth.

“Mm, is that yummy Nora?” Lizzie asks in a child-like voice. Nora grins wide while the elephant’s trunk was in her mouth. Besides a purple monkey that was in her crib, the elephant was one of her favorite toys. Lizzie quickly changes Nora into a fresh diaper and clothes. She brings her into her room placing her into a pack ‘n’ play with a few toys while she grabs a quick shower and gets dressed. After she finishes with her hair, she leans over to grab Nora who was still playing with the elephant. Lizzie tries to take the stuffed animal from her, but as soon as it was out of Nora’s hands she starts to cry. “Okay, sweetie. It’s from your Papa. I understand.” She carries the girl down the stairs and into the kitchen where she places her into a highchair. She places a few puffs onto the tray in front Nora.

“She’s not eating,” Dembe watches the girl. “She usually loves those little things.”

“I know. All she wants is that stuffed elephant. Even at almost seven months old, she has this personality to her. She misses her Papa.” Dembe nods in understand. “Did you find the pictures?” she asks.

“I slipped them into the diaper bag. I also stuck some more diapers in there.”

She places her hand onto his shoulder. “You are a good uncle.”

They leave soon after, Nora not letting the elephant go. And Lizzie knew that until Ray was awake, she wouldn’t let it go.

~*~ TBL ~*~

“You’re going to talk to Glen?” Lizzie asks as Dembe drops them off at the PO.

“Just let me know when the pictures are ready and I will swing by and pick them up.”

“Alright,” Lizzie says getting out of the car. She walks around and takes Nora’s seat and slips the diaper bag over her shoulder. She flashes her badge to the guard before getting onto the elevator. She see Cooper when she gets off. He raises an eyebrow at Nora. “I'm sorry, Sir, but with Ray in the hospital I want to keep her close. I know it’s not allowed, and call me paranoid but I would feel better knowing she’s here.”

Cooper gives her a soft smile. “Just don’t let her be a distraction Agent Scott.” He smiles down at Nora letting her grab onto his finger. He starts to talk to her, like only a father knew how. Lizzie smiles while watching the interaction between the two. She turns to see Ressler standing there, waiting for her. She turns to see Cooper pulling Nora out of the seat. They start to walk toward his office. “And he tells me not to let her be a distraction,” she mutters.

Ressler tugs on her hand and leads her into their shared office. “How are you holding up? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I'm fine.” Ressler eyes her. “Okay, maybe not fine. But I have to hope that’s he’s going to wake up. I can't imagine the scenario if he doesn’t.”

“Liz, if I know one thing about Reddington, it’s that he’s a stubborn bastard. He loves you Liz. He loves Nora. He’s not gonna die. But just think of all that recovery time you guys will get.”

Lizzie starts laughing as she starts digging through the diaper bag. She finally finds what she was looking for in the side pocket. Ressler gives Liz a questioning look as a bright green-eyed blond with a happy smile stares up at them from the picture Liz was holding. “Cute kid. Who is she?” he asks.

“Jennifer Reddington,” Lizzie mutters quietly. Ressler gasps and guide’s Lizzie’s hand so he had a better view of the picture. “I'm going to have Aram do an age progression. According to Ray, she is only 2 years older than me.”

“Talk about robbing the cradle.” Ressler mutters. “So, you are really trying to find her. What’s next?”

“Well, if Aram can successfully do the age progression, then I will hand that off to Dembe. He is with a contact who can hopefully track her down. If he can manage to find Berlin’s daughter with a few scant details, then hopefully he can find Ray’s daughter.”

“And what if his daughter is, uh…” Ressler trails off.

“Then I don’t know. I can't think like that Don. I have to try to be optimistic here.”

“Careful when you go out there. I think Samar and Aram are having a moment.”

“A moment?” Lizzie questions as she heads for the door. She walks down to the center of the Post Office, but stops short when she catches sight of the two agents. Aram’s arms were waving around animatedly while he was busy telling some sort of story. Samar places her hand onto his should as she starts laughing as whatever Aram was telling her. Lizzie grins at the picture the two of them made.

She takes her time to walk over, waiting until Aram was seemingly done with his story. “Liz,” he says brightly.

She stops short starting to realize something. “Wait, if Ressler is in our office and you two are here, who is with Ray at the hospital?” she asks.

“He had a visitor about an hour ago. Called herself, Mr. Kaplan. Told me that they didn’t require my services. I started to argue and then I walked out into the hall and called Cooper. He wasn’t happy with the situation, but as long as someone, even if it was his own people, were with him then that was okay. This ‘Mr. Kaplan’ told me you would be round as soon as soon as you heard that she was there.”

“Damn right,” Lizzie huffs out a breath. She hands Aram the picture. “Do you think you can do an age progression on her?”

Aram takes a look at the picture. “Sure. Should be easy. To what age should I make her out to be?”

“About 35 Aram. Thank you. Do you think you could shoot a message to Dembe when you are done? Just tell him you have the picture ready. He will swing by and pick it up.”

“Uh…I guess…I could…uh…do that,” he stutters out.

“I will call him when he is done,” Samar grins at Lizzie. They both start chuckling as Aram lets out a breath.

“Dembe seems scary, but he’s not. He’s really smart. And when he gets around Nora, he turns to goo. Just like every other man in her life. They can't resist her. My case,” she turns to point at Cooper who was making little airplane noises while making Nora ‘fly’. She giggles, while smiling widely.

She walks toward her office and starts gathering Nora’s stuff together. “Where you off to?”

“Someone is with Ray at the hospital, one of his ‘guys’ I guess you could call them. I'm gonna head over there to see if everything is okay. I’ve got Aram working on the age progression of the picture for me. Samar is going to give Dembe a ring when he finishes.”

“Still afraid of them, huh?” Ressler questions while shaking his head.

“I wouldn’t say afraid,” Lizzie muses about it for moment. “Nervous. Yeah, I would say nervous.”

“Even after the last few years. Hopefully Samar can turn that around. He has seen Red with Nora. Aram knows he’s not that bad of a guy.” Lizzie shrugs. “Why don’t you leave Nora here? We’re all around and we aren’t really doing anything. Go see Ray, make sure he’s really okay. Let me know what’s happening. Besides, she’s my god daughter. I want to spend some time with her.”

“Are you sure? Cooper doesn’t want her to be a distraction.”

“I'm sure. Besides, I'm an awesome godfather. You want to talk about a distraction?” he points out their window. Lizzie looks out to see Nora had passed hands and she was now with Samar. Samar has Nora sitting on her lap while Aram was making funny faces at her. Nora still had that elephant clutched in her hands. “Go and see Ray. She will be fine.”

“Alright, Don, alright. You are the best,” she tells him walking towards their office door.

“I know I am,” he remarks. She laughs as she walks to the door of the office before stopping slowly turning around to face her partner.

“I need a ride,” she says. Ressler looks at her with a smirk. He leans over, opening a drawer to his desk. He holds a pair of keys. She smiles while taking them.

“I brought you to the hospital and then you and Dembe left.”

“We went to see Naomi Hyland.”

“Then I'm sure he brought you home.” Lizzie nods. “Then brought you here this morning. So your car has been here since I brought you to see Reddington in the hospital.”

“Right,” she says swiping the keys from his hand.

~*~ TBL ~*~

The ride to the hospital took longer than Lizzie liked due to an accident. She breathes a sigh of relief as she finally pulls in. Luck was on her side when she found a parking spot fairly close.

She had called Dembe letting him know that either Aram or Samar would call letting him know when he could pick up the picture, with him letting her know that he was now on his way to meet Samar.

She walks into the hospital and heads to the surgical floor. There was a man standing outside of Ray’s door that she vaguely recognized. He gives her a brief nod before she walks in. She finds Mr. Kaplan sitting next to Ray’s bed.

“I was wondering when you were going to show up,” Kate tells Lizzie.

“I had some stuff to take care of. I was going to swing by a little later with the baby, but when I realized everyone from my team was at work, I got worried. Is everything okay?”

“Everything is the same. He hasn’t woken up. I was wondering if you thought about getting him moved.”

“Moved where?” Lizzie asks taking a seat on chair on the opposite side of the bed. She picks up his hands, entwining their hands together.

“He has a number of safe houses that would be more secure than this hospital.”

Lizzie shakes her head. “If there was a threat, yes. That would be the first thing that I would have done. But Dembe assures me the people that are responsible are not coming after him.”

They lapse into silence, the beeping of the machines being their music. One of them starts beeping a little faster and Lizzie immediately looks over at Ray. The hand she was holding squeezes hers tightly. “Ray?” she questions getting up. His eyes flutter open. He blinks a few times, landing on Kate. He turns his head to see Lizzie. She places her hand onto his cheek before leaning down and giving him a kiss on his head. “I love you so much. Thank you for coming back to me.”

Chapter Text

FIVE

Lizzie stands back as a doctor and nurse come into the room. He grips onto her hand, forcing her to stay close to him.

“Okay, Mr. White, on the count of three, I want you to breathe out. One…Two…Three,” the doctor says. Ray breathes out as the doctor pulls the tube from his throat, he then starts to cough.

“Water,” he croaks out. Lizzie looks around the room, but couldn’t find a cup. She looks to the nurse. The nurse smiles politely before walking out of the room. She comes back a few minutes later carrying a pitcher of water and a cup. Lizzie fills the cup and brings the straw to his lips. He sucks a few mouthfuls before pushing it away. “Nora?” he asks looking at Lizzie.

“She’s spending some much needed time with her Uncle Don,” Lizzie tells him. “I’ll call him and have him bring her here. I will call Dembe as well. I'm sure he would like to know.”

“Where is he? I figured he would be right here with you.”

“As much as we both love you, we had to sleep some time. Besides, he’s off doing an errand for me,” she grins as he narrows his eyes at her. She leans down and gives him a kiss before walking out of the room. She finds a quiet place at the end of the hall before pulling her phone out. Lizzie quickly dials a number with a smile on her face.

“Ressler,” he says with a laugh. Lizzie’s smile widens as she hears Nora laughing. She loved that little laugh.

“What are you guys doing?” she asks.

“We are making funny faces at each other. What’s up? Everything okay?” he asks.

“Yah, you think you can bring her to the hospital? Ray’s awake and he wants to see his little girl.”

“See, I told you he was too stubborn to die. He would never leave the two of you. Do you hear that baby girl?” Ressler questions to Nora. “Your Papa is awake.”

Lizzie giggles as she hears Nora squeal. “Papa!” she yells out. The two adults go quiet.

“Did she just…?” Ressler asks dumbfounded.

“Mama!” Nora yells out this time.

“She said ‘mama’ this morning. But this is the first time I heard her say ‘papa’. Oh, Ray is going to be so thrilled. He’s been waiting for this moment since she was born.” Lizzie hears the shuffling of the phone before everything gets a little louder in her ear. Ressler must have put the phone on speaker. “Hey sweet girl. It’s Mama. Uncle Donnie is gonna bring you to see Papa.”

“Papa!” she calls again.

“She is clutching that stuffed elephant,” Ressler mutters.

“She has been since this morning. She knows her Papa gave it to her. Alright, I am going to get off the phone. I have to call Dembe and tell him.”

“Okay, we will see you soon. Say goodbye to Mama.”

“Mama! Papa!”

Lizzie grins again as she ends the call. She dials the phone that Dembe was using. It rings a few times before she could hear the soft timbre of Dembe’s voice using her full name.

“He’s awake Dembe. He woke just a few minutes ago.”

“Do you want me to have Glen cancel his search?”

“No, have him finish. Even though Ray’s awake, I would rather have Jennifer’s location just in case. It might even be a good surprise if we can convince her to see him.”

“All right. How is he?”

“Seems to be okay. His first thought was of Nora. I just got off the phone with Ressler. He’s going to bring her here. I left Ray and the doctor with Kate. She would be able to better comprehend everything the doctor says anyway. I have a feeling that he’s going to be stuck in the hospital for a few more weeks at least.”

“Okay, then. Let me finish up and then I will see you in a little bit.” She nods even though he couldn’t see it. She then pockets the phone and heads back towards Ray’s room. The doctor is just walking out when she gets back.

“How is he?” she asks.

“He is doing remarkably well. He is going to be in pain for the next few days. No strenuous activities for at least two to three weeks. Lots of rest. But something tells me he isn’t going to like being confined.”

“Oh, you got that right,” Lizzie mutters. “He definitely isn’t going to like being confined to one place for too long. Thank you Doctor,” she says as the two go their separate ways. She walks into the room to see Kate smiling smugly and Ray pouting. “What’s going on here?” she asks taking a seat in her empty chair. He holds his hand out, palm up and she places her hand over his, lacing their fingers together.

“Oh, he’s just upset that he has to stay in the hospital instead of going home,” Kate tells her. She pats his shoulder in a comforting manner. “It’s only for a few more days, then you will be able to get out of here. Then Elizabeth and Dembe will be able to take you home.”

Lizzie grins as Ray lets out a sigh. “I hate the hospital. I hate what they signify.” He turns to look at Lizzie who frowns knowing what exactly what he was talking about. Her concussion, her almost death when that blacklister had snuck into the hospital. The whole thing that had started the two on their journey to being together, to making Nora, to being a family. She startles as she feels Ray tug on her arm.

“What?” she asks.

“Come here. I want to wrap my arms around you,” he pleads.

Lizzie shakes her head. “You’re already hurt. I don’t want to cause you any more pain.”

“Lizzie,” Ray pleads again. She looks over at Mr. Kaplan who just shrugs her shoulders. Lizzie finally lets out a sigh and gets onto the bed. Ray turns with a grunt and wraps his arms around her. Lizzie looks into his eyes, and see they were scrunched closed. He lets out a breath but then opens his eyes as he feels Lizzie pulling away. “Lizzie,” he groans watching her get off the bed.

“Is it easier for you on your back?” she asks. He nods. “Then lay on your back.” He does as she instructs. “Can you move this arm? I mean do you have free motion with it? Does it hurt when you lift it above your head?” he lifts it up without his injuries hurting too much.

“Yes, Lizzie,” he responds. She nods before slipping back onto the bed. She lays on her side, flush up against him as he wraps his free arm around her. She uses her free arm to reach across his stomach to bring their hands together. “Much better,” he says blinking his eyes trying to stay awake. “Remind you of anything?” he asks.

“Definitely,” she responds with a smile. “Sleep Ray. I will wake you when our girl gets here.” She lays her head down onto his shoulder and listens as his heart monitor starts beeping a little more slowly signaling he has fallen asleep. She catches Kate’s eyes across the bed.

“I'm glad he has you,” she murmurs before getting up. “Call me when they are ready to discharge him. I will meet you at your house to make sure he gets settled in okay.”

“Alright,” she remarks watching the older woman walk out of Ray’s room. She blinks against her own sleep. She was so warm and comfortable snuggled up against Ray that sleep was coming on fast. She closes her eyes a final time, letting sleep claim her.

She gets woken up when she hears a squeal and a ‘Mama!’ she blinks slowly as she hears Ray grumble under his breath. She couldn’t tell what he was saying, seeing as it was in a foreign language.

“What?” she asks wiping the sleepiness from her eyes.

“I said, who is screaming?” he asks not opening his eyes.

“Papa!” Ray opens his eyes to look at Lizzie. They turn to where Kate was sitting previously only to see Ressler sitting there. Nora was standing on his legs, while he held onto her waist. “Papa! Mama!” she calls. Ray turns to Lizzie with a big smile.

“She called me Papa,” he chokes out, his eyes misting. Lizzie gets out of the bed and walks around to take Nora from her partner. She goes back to her original position next to Ray. Nora holds her hands out to her papa. Ray looked helpless, knowing he was still in pain. “Screw it,” he says. “Lizzie, will you help me sit up?” he asks. Lizzie gets up and hands Nora off to Ressler once again.

“Papa,” she calls holding her hands out once again. Lizzie presses the button to incline his bed. Ray grunts against the pain, but he didn’t care. He wanted his baby girl. Lizzie stops the bed and then helps Ray move so he could be a little more comfortable. She takes Nora from Ressler again and then allows Ray to take her. “Papa,” she says his name again. Nora leans up and places a big open-mouthed kiss on his lips. He grins at his little girl.

“She’s never done that before,” Lizzie breathes out. “She saved her first kiss for you.” Lizzie watches as their daughter wraps her tiny arms around Ray’s neck before settling down and yawning. Lizzie then lays down next to Ray, trapping Nora between the two of them.

Ray grins before yawning once again. “I love you guys. Now, give me a kiss and let’s take a nap.” She leans over to give Ray a kiss. She then turns to see Ressler looking over some sort of report.

“Ressler?” she asks. He looks up. “Thanks for watching Nora.”

“Wasn’t just me. It was a team effort. Why don’t you rest with your family? I’ll wait until Dembe gets here.”

“Thanks,” she says snuggling into the two most important people in her life.

Chapter Text

~*~ SIX ~*~

“Do you remember what to do?” Mr. Kaplan asks Lizzie as they get Ray settled into their bed.

Lizzie nods her head. “Yes.” Mr. Kaplan keeps staring at her. “Yes, I remember. And if he starts having a discharge call you immediately.”

Kate nods her head. “Yes. Very well, then. I shall be off. I will call in a few days to see how he’s doing.” She turns to Ray and drops a kiss onto his head. “Don’t give her too much trouble.”

“Me?” Ray asks. “Trouble?” he snorts at the thought.

“Just remember that I’ve been around when you’ve been in this position. You don’t like to be in one place for too long.”

“And immobile. But that was before I had these two beauties,” he tells Kate pointing to where Lizzie sat on the floor with Nora, who was now on all fours rocking back and forth. Ray watches in amusement as Nora tries to move forward but falls onto her belly. She grunts her disapproval and gets back up onto her hands and knees. “If at first Nora girl,” he says from the bed, “try, try again.”

Lizzie looks at him, frowning. “I don’t want her to start crawling. She’s getting so big already. Just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital. And now she’s trying to crawl? No, go back to being my baby girl,” she tells Nora scooping her up from the floor and making her giggle as Lizzie smothers her face with kisses.

“Word of advice Lizzie dear,” Kate says stopping at the door to their room. Lizzie looks up after putting Nora back onto the floor in front of her. “She will always be your baby girl. No matter how old she gets.” With that statement she turns and walks out of the room.

“Am I taking that as she knows from personal experience?” she turns to Ray, who in turn shrugs his shoulders. Lizzie lets out a huff at his vague ‘answer’. “Still so much secrecy,” she mutters.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Lizzie turns around in bed, making sure Ray was really asleep. She runs her hand over his face and giggles silently when he doesn’t move. She had forced a pain pill on him after dinner since he was in pain after Nora decided the only place she wanted to nap was on her Papa. Even with a blanket underneath her, she was still pulling on his stitches. Not enough to rip them, but enough to cause him discomfort.

She sneaks out of bed and past Nora’s pack ‘n’ play where their daughter was sleeping peacefully, her elephant clutched tightly in her hands. She leaves the room and travels down the stairs. She sees Dembe sitting at the island a cup in his hand looking over a file in front of him.

“Is he asleep?” he asks.

“Yup. Those pain meds really work. Did Glen come through?” she asks.

“Oh, yes. It took a little persuasion on my part. He didn’t even try to pull anything like he usually does with Raymond.” He slides the file across the counter to Lizzie. She takes a look through the papers and gasps.

“Are you freaking kidding me?” she asks looking up at Dembe. “Is that...?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Don’t know where she is my ass,” she remarks. “She is unbelievable. So what do we do now?”

Dembe shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know. What do you want to do? I'm taking all my cues from you. Should we go and talk to her?”

“Go and talk to who?” the two freeze in their spots. Lizzie looks up while Dembe turns around to see Ray standing in the doorway of the kitchen. “Well? Who do you want to go talk to?” Lizzie and Dembe exchange a look, neither really know what to say.

“I thought you were sleeping,” Lizzie finally gets out.

“Well, I wasn’t. I'm someone who knows how to hide not taking pain medication. Is this why you practically forced it down my throat earlier? You wanted to go and talk to someone?” Lizzie drops his gaze and bites her lip, not knowing how to respond to him. Ray crosses the room and reaches for the file. Dembe slaps his hand over it and looks up at his friend, his brother.

“Before you look, just know we did it for you,” he says in a calm manner. Ray gives a single nod before Dembe moves his hand. Ray flips through the file and then freezes looking down at the picture before him.

“No, absolutely not,” he replies in a firm tone.

“Absolutely not? What?” Lizzie questions.

“You are not bringing her into this. End of discussion.” He turns to Dembe. “We are leaving.”

“Leaving? Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Lizzie asks following him as he leaves the kitchen. She stands at the bottom of the stairs and watches him stop half way up to catch his breath. “You are not going anywhere.”

“Don’t,” he breathes out. It was supposed to sound menacing, but it came out weak since he was still trying to catch his breath.

“Don’t what? Don’t care for you? Don’t love you?” she shouts at him following him up the stairs and into their room. “Too damn bad. You aren’t going anywhere Ray. You could barely walk up those stairs.”

“I don’t want her in this life Elizabeth. I don’t want her to find out what kind of man her father turned out to be.”

“Oh, I think that ship has sailed there buddy,” she quips. “According to Naomi, Carla or whatever the hell she calls herself now, as soon as she got old enough she took off. And I'm sure your ex-wife didn’t even try to stop her. I wasn’t going to contact her unless I absolutely had to. And for as long as I’ve known you, you wanted to know what happened to your daughter. Well, you have everything at your fingertips.”

“You are going to wake Nora,” he says as he pulls a white shirt out of the closet. He grunts as he pulls it on.

“You are a fool,” she sneers at him. She turns as Nora starts fussing. Lizzie turns on her heel and scoops Nora up and walks out of the room and towards hers. She sits down in the rocking chair, holding her close. Nora slows her fussing and falls back asleep. Lizzie lays her down into the crib and makes sure the monitor is on before leaving the room. She makes no notice of Ray as she heads down the stairs. “Talk some sense into him,” she hisses to Dembe as she walks into the kitchen.

“There is no talking sense into him,” he replies. “You should know that by now.”

They both turn as there is a thud on the stairs. Lizzie goes to the stairs to see Ray gripping the bannister. His pants were buttoned, but his shirt and tie were askew as was his vest. He makes it down the stairs, brushing past Lizzie and towards the front door. “Dembe!” he hollers.

“Don’t do this Ray,” she pleads.

He ignores her. “Dembe!”

“Forget it Raymond. I'm not helping you. Now get back upstairs and back into bed,” Dembe tells him. Ray looks between the two.

“Ray, I wasn’t trying to bring her into this. You were in the hospital Ray. You almost died. They had a blood shortage. They all donated. I couldn’t because of Nora. But they were more interested in Ressler because you guys had the same blood type. Jennifer has the same blood type as you.”

“If I didn’t think it was a good idea, I wouldn’t have helped her Raymond. But think about it. What was she supposed to do?”

Ray looks between the two and then turns to the door. He pulls it open to see Ressler walking up the walkway. “Raymond Todd Reddington!” Lizzie yells.

Ray stops and straightens his back. “Did you just…?” Ressler’s eyes go wide as he stops where he was, watching the scene play out in front of him.

“Your damn right I did. You walk out that door and that’s it! Don’t bother coming back.” He turns to look at her. “I did what I did because I was trying to save your life. Saving the life of my fiancé. Saving the father of my daughter.” Tears spring into her eyes and start falling down her cheeks. “So get off your high horse Raymond Reddington!” Lizzie then turns on her heels and walks up the stairs as Ray turns and slowly makes his way outside. He turns to look at Dembe, who shakes his head before turning and walking back into the kitchen. Ray takes a deep breath as a sharp stabbing pain shoots through his chest.

Ressler watches as the three go their separate ways. He stands in the doorway peering in. “Hello?” he asks into the house.

“Hey,” Lizzie says walking down the stairs holding Nora a blanket wrapped around her. “Follow me.” She leads Ressler into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. “What’s up?”

“Cooper kind of ordered me to make sure Reddington was settled in and to see how he was doing. Maybe see if we can get a timeline to see when he’s going to be back?” he questions slowly.

“I don’t know. At the rate he’s going right now he will be back in the hospital. Kate will kill me,” she mutters.

“Is she okay?” Ressler runs his hand over Nora’s back.

“Yeah, we woke her up yelling. We haven’t really had a fight like this since before we got together. He found out that we have been looking for Jennifer. He freaked. Told us he didn’t want her to be part of this life. And so on.”

They watch as Dembe walk out the front door. He comes back in a few minutes later half carrying Ray. Lizzie and Ressler jump up from the couch. Ressler going over to help Dembe try to bring Ray up the stairs.

“Oh no, you are not bringing him in my room. Let him bleed all over the couch,” she says seeing the dark red stains on his shirt.

“Lizzie,” Ray moans as Dembe and Ressler lay him on the couch.

“Don’t you ‘Lizzie’ me!” she remarks before walking out of the room. She goes into the kitchen and puts Nora in her high chair, placing a few puffs onto her tray. Ressler comes into the room a few minutes later.

“He is asking for you,” he tells her. She turns in the chair while looking up from Nora with a frown.

“Well, at the moment I don’t want to talk to him.” Ressler sighs before walking over and grabbing a cup out of the cabinet and pouring himself a drink from the sink. “You know, I sort of agree with one part, but at the same time, I don’t.” Lizzie stares at him. “I'm just saying that I understand why he wouldn’t want his daughter involved in this life. But at the same time, she sort of already is involved. She’s living under a fake name. With her mother, who also has a fake name. A fake name that her ex-husband gave her. So, I'm on the fence with this. But what I will tell you is that he shouldn’t gave gotten mad at you for it. You were trying to get him help. He was dying.”

“I know that! And you know that, but obviously he doesn’t care. Fine, whatever let him bleed to death on the couch. I don’t care,” she whispers. She slips the ring off her finger and places it on the counter before grabbing Nora and walking out of the kitchen.

Chapter Text

SEVEN
http://floristdex.com/types-of-flowers

~*~ TBL ~*~

The next few days were uncomfortable for everyone involved. Lizzie returned to her normal schedule dropping Nora off at daycare and then heading into the Post Office until Ray complained that she could just leave Nora with him. She told him she wasn’t going to leave her almost ready to crawl daughter with someone who couldn’t even get off the couch without wincing in pain.

~*~ TBL ~*~

The night of the fight, Ressler had brought the ring into the living room where Ray was laying on the couch with Dembe stitching him up where some of them had torn. He held out the ring and Ray let out a sigh before taking it.

“What did she say?” he asked.

“I told her that at one point I understood where you were coming from, not wanting your daughter to be part of this, part of this life that you lead. But then I told her I didn’t understand. For as long as you’ve been working with us, you’ve wanted to find her. Wanted to know where she is. Well, Liz and Dembe found her. She was trying to find your daughter to save your life. And she thinks you don’t care. She had to pull herself away from your side long enough to fly to Seattle to talk to your ex-wife. I honestly don’t know what was going to happen if you didn’t make it through. She spent all her time by your side. Wouldn’t let Nora out of her sight until you woke up. You didn’t see her when she got the call from Dembe. She went catatonic until we were almost at the hospital. She loves you. Lord only knows why after everything you put her through, but she does,” with that Ressler walks out of the living room, stopping when he sees Lizzie sitting on the stairs holding onto Nora. He gives her a slight nod before walking out of the front door.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Nora could definitely feel the tension between her Papa and Mama, and she didn’t like it. She hadn’t been in a good mood and Lizzie was starting to feel it. She was fed up with all of it. She loved her daughter, but at the moment she was just tired. Tired of everything.

Poor Dembe was stuck in the middle of things. Not that Lizzie was putting him in the middle of it. He had been a willing participant in helping find Jennifer. Ray, while still recovering on the couch, was making everyone miserable. Mr. Kaplan had threatened to shoot him if he didn’t suck it up and apologize. Ray pouted and started muttering in German, Dembe shooting him a look and shaking his head at whatever Ray was saying.

Ressler had had enough. He thought saying what he had a few days before would have gotten through to Reddington, but apparently not. He tells Lizzie he has an errand to run before leaving the office. He drives to Lizzie’s angry. He needed to calm down before he tries to put another bullet in Reddington. He pulls up to the house, seeing Reddington and Dembe putting some stuff in their car.

“Donald,” Ray says with a smile that came out more as a grimace.

“No, you don’t get to do that. You don’t get to act like everything is fine, because it’s not. Not by a long shot. My partner is hurting right now. She’s miserable. And don’t get me started on Nora. Do you get off on this? Hurting them? Did you even realize that she didn’t come home last night? That they came over to my place because she didn’t want to come here. She didn’t want to have to spend one more night in this house. She didn’t want Nora to be around this. I listened to her cry herself to sleep last night. Get your head out of your ass and do something because at the rate you’re going, you are going to push her away. Fix it! Now!” Ressler turns and walks away leaving Reddington and Dembe standing there. Ray turns to look at Dembe and walks into the house. He heads up the stairs and into their bedroom to see the bed still made. He shakes his head before walking back down the stairs to Dembe.

“Bring it all back in,” Ray tells him. The two quickly bring it all back into the house. Dembe turns to Ray. “Nearest florist please, Dembe.”

~*~ TBL ~*~

At the end of the day, Lizzie loathed to go home, to bring Nora back into that situation. It was like the two of them were strangers. And even though Ray was back to talking about blacklisters, she refused to talk to him. So it had been up to Ressler to talk to him.

“Don?” she questions, his given name making him look up from his paperwork. “Is it okay if Nora and I use your guest room again?”

He lets out a breath before nodding. “Yeah. Sure. It’s yours,” he tells her before she lets out a single nod and the two lapse back into silence. Each going back to their paperwork.

At the end of the day, or what would be a normal day of someone normal, the two gather their things and head out. Since Lizzie had driven in with her partner that morning, she didn’t have her own car. They stop to pick up Nora before heading back to Ressler’s.

Ressler makes a quick dinner, but Nora didn’t want to eat anything. She bangs her toy onto the table while yelling “Papa!” making the two of them jump.

“Nora,” Lizzie says with a sigh as tears come to her eyes. She hated this. Hating what this was doing to them. “Come here,” she says getting up and holding her hands out to her daughter.

“No! Papa!” Lizzie stands there stunned before a tear slides down her cheek. She turns on her heel and walks out of the room. Ressler sighs before walking around the table and picking Nora up. She lays her head down on his shoulder before sniffling. He turns to look at the table where Liz lad left her phone. ‘Hubby’ was on the screen. He debates picking up the phone, but then thinks better of it.

“Ressler,” he says answering the phone.

There was a pause before Ray speaks. “What are you doing answering Lizzie’s phone?”

“She’s not having a good night. Nora told her no. Keeps calling for you.”

“Oh dear,” Ray remarks. “Well, I need to speak to her.”

“Liz or Nora?” Ressler jokes.

“Lizzie. Do you think she will take my call?”

“I don’t know. I will ask,” Ressler makes his way toward the guest room. He opens the door to see Lizzie sitting on the bed, her back to the door. “Liz?” she looks at him over her shoulder. He holds her phone out. “It’s Red, he wants to talk to you.”

She sighs before taking the phone from him. “Hey,” she says softly. Ressler walks out leaving Liz to her phone call.

“Hello,” he says softly back. “I need to see you. I want to explain.”

“Okay. Yeah that would be a good idea. I’m going to get Nora ready and then I will be there. Are you at the house?”

“Yes, but just you. I'm sure Donald would be happy to keep Nora for the night. He’s done it before, right?”

“Uh, not really. But he’s so good with her, so I'm sure it wouldn’t be a problem. Let me ask and then I will get back to you.” She gets up and goes in search of Ressler. She finds him sitting on the couch playing with Nora. “Hey, Ress?” she asks. He turns to look at her. “Do you mind watching Nora so I can go talk with Ray?”

“Not at all. She has everything here?”

“Yah. She has a bag in the guest room. Extra diapers and wipes along with extra clothes. Thanks Don,” she says. She writes a quick text before going back to the guest room. She cleans up a little bit, making herself presentable. She walks back into the living room watching Ressler and Nora. He had a tablet in his hand while she swiped her little finger across the screen and giggled as it made a funny noise. She places her hand onto his shoulder and he looks up at her. “Thanks for this.”

“No problem,” he remarks. Lizzie drops a kiss onto Nora’s head, the girl not taking her eyes off the electronic device in her uncle’s hand. She gathers up her car keys and her cell phone.

The drive to their house was quick. She takes a few moments to compose herself before getting out of the car. She walks towards the front door, opening it, taking a step inside. She drops her keys to the floor as she takes in the sight around her.

Flowers. They were everywhere. Different kinds of flowers, different colors. She walks through the house, discovering even more. Throughout the dining room, kitchen, living room and the sun room, they were everywhere. She looks around and smiles. Ray was out of control sometimes. She looks down when she notices a heart taped to the floor. They were all numbered. She shakes her head before following the numbers to number one. She looks at the bouquet of bright orange flowers. She picks the card up that read ‘read me’ that was propped on the rim of the vase. Lizzie opens the card to see the name of the flower, Alstroemeria, and the definition, “Friendship”, on the bottom half was a brief description, “Because you are my best friend”. She grins before looking down and following the trail to heart number two. She comes upon cute purple flowers, Anemone, picking the card up she grins when she reads it “Anticipation – because I love trying to anticipate what you are going to do next”. She finds heart number three with a bright pink flower in the vase, Aster. She picks up the card, loving this game Ray was playing. She giggles as the card reads, “Patience – Because you are so very patient with me, Lizzie, even when you don’t want to be.”

Heart number 4 was only a few steps away with a weird looking flower that almost looked like a hummingbird. She picks up the card and snickers at the name, Birds of Paradise. She couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she reads the meaning and his words, “Joyfulness – Because you and Nora bring joy to my life every day”. Heart number five came next and with it a delicate pink Carnation which she knew very well since they used to hand them out every Valentine’s Day in school. She flips the card open to see what he would say next, “Pride & Beauty – how very proud of you that I am and how glad I am to see your beauty every day.”

Lizzie snorts. “Being a suck up, aren’t you Raymond?” she asks no one in particular. She knew he had to be around here somewhere, but for now she was just having fun playing his little game.

She finds heart six and a strange tall purple flower, Delphinium. She flips the card open, “Heavenly – because I am in heaven every time I am with our little family.” Heart seven was a few steps away and these little white flowers, Freesias, gave off a very sweet scent. She grabs the card and grins, “Innocent – because our little girl is innocent.” Heart eight was next with long stemmed, pale pink flowers, Gladiolus. She flips the card open, “Strength of Character – because I love how strong you are, even after everything you’ve been through.

She comes upon heart 9 and with it a strange purple flower, Heather, that she didn’t even think was a flower. She wipes a tear out of her eye as she reads the card, “Admiration – I admire how you could ever love a man like me.” “Oh Ray,” she breathes out. “Even though you make me crazy, I love you like no other.” She looks down and follows the hearts to find 10 a pretty white flower, Queen Anne’s Lace. She flips the card open, “Sanctuary – because you are my sanctuary.”

Heart 11 was a few steps away. It was another pink flower, which she thought was another carnation. But Ray quickly corrected her when she read the card, Ranunculus. She shakes her head when she reads the rest of the card, “Radiant – because to me, you are radiant in everything that you do.” “Really laying it on thick, Raymond,” she shakes her head once again. She quickly finds heart 12 along with another pink flower that looks very strange, Snapdragon. She lets out a laugh when she opens the card, “Desire – Because I desire in every way.”

She beams when she finds heart 13 taped to the coffee table and one of her favorite flowers, Tulips, in a huge bouquet. She opens the card, “Declaration of Love – I, Raymond Reddington, declare to the whole world that I love you, Elizabeth.” She shakes her head while picking up a tulip from the vase and breathing in the scent. The house was starting to smell like a florist, but she was okay with that.

She keeps hold on the tulip as she starts to follow the hearts again. They lead her right into the sunroom. She looks up and gasps as almost every surface was covered in roses. And not just red roses, but pink, yellow and white. She looks up as she realizes a set of white Christmas lights were strung up around the room, giving the room a soft glow.

She takes a step toward Ray, who was watching her take everything in from the back of the room. “What…?” she trails off, not having the words. A tear slips down her cheek as she takes another step toward him. Ray doesn’t say a word, but hands her the last card. She looks at it for a moment before taking it. “Roses,” she reads. “Love. Because there isn’t enough space on this card for me to say how much I love you.” She looks up and gasps as she sees Ray kneeling down in front of her. Her ring in his hand.

“I love you. So very much. And I wanted to make it up to you. So I scoured the city looking for every one of these flowers. You deserve the world, Elizabeth. And I want to give it to you. I want to do it right this time. So please, say you will marry me…again,” he adds on. “Marry me Elizabeth Scott,” he tells her.

“Oh God,” she groans before throwing herself at him. She peppers his face with kisses while he laughs.

“Does that mean yes?”

“Yes, yes,” she cries. “A hundred times yes.” He slips the ring on her finger and she wraps her arms around him, pulling him toward her. They meet in the middle sharing their first kiss in weeks. Her hands come up and start to unbutton his vest. He pulls away while grinning at her before taking her hand and starts to pull her toward the stairs. “No,” she pulls on his hand.

He turns to look at her. “No?”

She reaches out to continue with unbuttoning his vest and shirt. “Right here. Right in the middle of all this,” she waves her hand around the room gesturing at the flowers. She then pushes him back toward the couch that was in the sunroom. He sits down with Lizzie coming to sit on his lap.

“Wait a minute,” he replies. He starts to stand and Lizzie gets the hint and gets off his lap. Ray turns and pulls something out from in between the couch cushions. Ray grins as he shows Lizzie one of Nora’s toys. She starts giggling, but it quickly turns to a moan as Ray pulls her toward him and they both go tumbling onto the couch.

Chapter Text

EIGHT

“What are we going to do with all these flowers?” Lizzie asks Ray as they lay on the couch. One of Nora’s blankets draped over them.

“Well, some of them can be replanted. Dembe has done some research, and we are going to build you a small greenhouse in the back. So, you will be able to keep them until they can be replanted when it gets warmer outside.”

“You are amazing,” she says turning in his arms and giving him a kiss. He moans while wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her closer. He grabs her leg and lifts it over his. “Oh God,” she groans.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Things were slowly starting to get back to normal between Ray and Lizzie and at the taskforce. Slowly the winter months turned to spring which brought on summer.

“Lizzie?” Ray asks as he walks into the house. He had been away for a few days chasing down someone who would lead them to the next name on the list. There was no response so he walks toward the kitchen. He knew she wasn’t at work, having stopped by the Post Office before heading to the house. He notices Lizzie sitting on a blanket in the yard, toys strewn about the yard, Ray sparing no expense when it came to his daughter. He hears Lizzie let out a laugh as Nora slides down a little slide, squealing in happiness.

“’Gain,” Nora calls out, getting to her feet and waddles up the stairs to the slide on the plastic play yard. Ray heads outside to watch the scene play out in front of him. Nora sits before sliding down the slide, clapping when she gets to the bottom. She gets up once again and heads toward the stairs. She gets up and stands at the top for a moment before yelling “Mama!” when she notices her mother’s gaze not on her. Lizzie looks up from whatever was in her lap.

“Go down the slide sweet girl, mama’s watching,” Lizzie then blows Nora a kiss as the girl smiles. She sits down and looks up while smiling wide. She pushes herself down the slide immediately getting up.

“Papa!” she yells toddling over to Ray. He scoops her up, making her laugh as he lays kisses all over her face. “Papa, slide.”

“I saw that sweet girl.” He carries her back over to the play yard and stands her by the stairs. He drops down next to Lizzie on the blanket before snaking his arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him. Lizzie smiles as she brings her hands to his face and leans over to give him a kiss.

“Glad your back,” she breathes out once the kiss had ended.

“Me too. I thought Dembe was going to shoot me. I was insufferable the entire time. I thought I was going to miss her birthday.”

“We would have held it until you got back. She’s one, she’s not going to know if we don’t celebrate exactly on her birthday. So, did you find your contact?”

“I did, and he was very forthcoming about the information I was seeking. You will have a very busy next few days.”

“What do you mean ‘I will’?”

“Because I did my part and I will be spending some time with our daughter. Donald has the name.”

“You called Ressler?”

“I stopped into the Post Office this morning. Donald told me you chose to work from home today. So I left him with the name then came straight here.”

“Family time?” she asks laying her head onto his shoulder.

“Family time,” he parrots back, pulling her in between his legs.

~*~ TBL ~*~

The next morning dawned bright and early. She silences her alarm fairly quickly noticing Ray was still asleep. She pulls herself out of bed and towards the bathroom to shower.

She gets out of the shower, noticing Ray was still sleeping. She quickly gets dressed and then heads down the hall to Nora’s room. She peaks into the room noticing Nora was still sleeping as well. She couldn’t believe her baby was going to be turning one. It seemed just yesterday she brought her home from the hospital. She was turning into her own little person now. She sighs as he runs her hand over Nora’s dark hair and down her back.

She takes one more look over her daughter before closing the door and walking down the stairs. She house was quiet as she walks into the kitchen, not surprised to see Dembe sitting at the island, sipping from a cup in front of him.

“You off?” he asks.

“Yeah, worked from home yesterday. And with the information you guys picked up this last week, I need to go in. I'm sure Ressler is chomping at the bit to get this guy. And if all goes well, and we wrap this case up, Cooper has approved some vacation time for Ress.”

“I didn’t think that guy took vacation time,” Dembe says with a smile.

“Well, when you have a girlfriend like Sarah, you do,” she jokes. She pulls a bottle of water out of the fridge before grabbing her bag off the counter. She places her hand onto Dembe’s shoulder. “Keep my family safe.”

“I always do,” he replies. She gives his shoulder a squeeze before heading towards the front door.

As soon as she walks into the Post Office, she sees Ressler and Samar walking towards her. “What’s going on?” she asks. Ressler starts to push her back towards the elevator. “Ress?”

“Found our guy. He’s been spotted going into a warehouse in Baltimore. We have to get going.”

Once at the warehouse, they pull their guns out. It was dark and quiet, giving Lizzie an ominous feeling. “This place is huge. We are going to have to split up,” Ressler says looking at both Lizzie and Samar.

“I don’t think that is a good idea,” Lizzie says looking around the room. There were many hallways and rooms, and they had no idea who or what was waiting for them.

“Afraid?” Samar asks nudging her friend.

“No, I just have a bad feeling,” she says back. “Alright, let’s get going. I want to be home for Nora sometime tonight.” The three all head separate ways and out of the main room. Lizzie takes a deep breath as she slowly and silently heads down her hallway. She pauses before checking around the corner. She didn’t see anything so she continues down the hall, her gun raised and at the ready. She pauses as she hears voices coming from down the hallway. She pulls her cell phone out of her pocket and sends a quick message to Ressler and Samar. She then quietly walks down the hall toward the voices.

She bursts into the room, her gun held out in front of her. “FBI!” she yells. She gasps when she notices the lone man standing in the room on a cell phone.

“Elizabeth?” the man questions.

“N…Nick?” she lowers her weapon. Before she could defend herself Nick raises his hand. Lizzie glances in horror as she sees the gun in his hand. She had no time to do anything before he pulls the trigger. She staggers back, hitting the opposite wall as the breath gets knocked out of her. “Why?” she gasps out.

“I'm sorry,” he tells her and it sounded like he almost meant it. He brings the gun up once again.

“Wait, wait,” she cries out. “Please, I have a daughter.”

She watches as he falters for a moment before he shrugs and pulls the trigger. She cries out as the bullet makes impact with her leg. Blood starts to pool out of the wound and to the ground. “I really am sorry,” he says once again before pulling his arm back. He punches her and she slumps to the ground. He pockets his gun and picks her up, hoisting her over his shoulder. He starts walking down the hall when he hears someone calling her name.

Ressler runs down the hallway, Samar hot on his heels. Ressler bursts into the room, not seeing anything. “Ressler!” Samar calls. He walks out into the hallway to see Samar squatting down to look at something on the floor. Ressler walks over and his stomach drops when he sees a pool of blood on the floor and Lizzie’s phone laying a few steps away.

Chapter Text

NINE

Raymond Reddington walked into the Post Office with purpose. He strides to where Ressler is talking with Cooper. Samar nudges Ressler and the man freezes. “Tell me you know where she is,” Ray whispers.

“I'm sorry,” Cooper says. “As of right now, we don’t even know who has her.” Ray turns to look at Ressler.

“Listen, all we know is that she sent Ressler a message saying she heard something. A few minutes later I heard two shots. One hit something because there was a small pool of blood on the floor. She had her protective vest on,” Samar replies. “We should have stayed together. She said she had a bad feeling.”

“In the years since I started working with Lizzie and in the time since we have gotten together, I have learned to trust her instincts. And you should have too,” he turns to look at Ressler. “She’s your partner, your best friend. You should have learned to trust her instincts.” He turns on his heel and walks out of the Post Office. Dembe follows close behind. “I want every man on this. Call Kate, see if she can find something from that room, that hallway or the whole damn building. I want to know who has her and where they are.”

“Yes, Raymond,” Dembe says pulling his cell phone out of his pocket and starts making phone calls. They head back to the house where Nora was with a babysitter.

After paying the babysitter and starting to get things together for their trip, he turns to see Dembe standing in the doorway of his bedroom. Nora perched in his arms a smile on her face.

“Papa,” she calls out to him, holding her hands out. Ray crosses the room and takes her from Dembe.

“Kate pulled out all the stops on this one. She got to the building right away and has some news for us.”

“Well, that was quick. What did she find?”

“Several prints all over the room. Mainly belonging to one Nick Gerard.”

“Dr. Nick Gerard?” Ray clarifies. Dembe nods his head. “I knew he was no good. There was always something off about him. Find out anything you can about him. Where you think he would go.” Dembe nods his head before walking out of the room.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Lizzie jolts awake, blinking her eyes slowly. She looks around but everything was blurry. She blinks once again before realizing it was no use. Nick must have given her some sort of eye drops. Her leg was burning and her hands were bound behind her. She was in something moving fast, very fast. She looks to the source of light, and could faintly make out a green blur. Trees, must be trees.

“Oh good, your awake,” comes a voice from behind her. She turns to where Nick’s voice could be heard coming from, barely make out his features.

“What did you give me?”

“Just a little something I had laying around. It will keep your eyes blurry for the time being. I don’t need you knowing where we are going.” He lapses into silence, focusing on the road in front of him. He turns off the road and down a dirt road. He hits a rather large bump in the road, making Lizzie hit her head. She winces as she gets jostled around in the back of the truck.

“So tell me about your daughter,” he breaks the silence.

“Excuse me?” she asks blinking once again, trying to get her eyes to adjust with no such luck. “Why would I tell you anything about my daughter?”

“Because we are going to be a family. And I want to know everything I can about her.”

A sense of dread filled her as she realized what he was saying. “I’d rather die than tell you anything about her.”

“Hmm,” he replies. “You know, I’ve been following your career since we broke up. I knew you got married to that douchebag that you cheated on me with. But then I learned you got a divorce. Not long after you had a baby. So, did you have a baby with the douchebag, or with someone else? Word is the Concierge of whatever they call him had a thing for you.”

“A thing for me?” she asks. She wiggles around and manages to loop her arms around her legs, leaving her arms in front of her. She brings her hands up around her neck. “What did you do with my necklace?” she asks.

“Oh, I have it safe,” he tells her, taking a sharp turn causing her to hit her head. She brings her hands up trying to feel for a bump. He stops abruptly causing her to hit her head once again. “So, who’s the lucky guy?” she remains quiet. “Suit yourself,” he remarks. “I’ll get it out of you one way or another.” He gets out of the driver’s seat and walks around, opening the back of the truck. She kicks at him and he falls to the ground. She slides out the back of the truck and makes it a few steps before she felt the prick of a syringe before everything goes fuzzy.

“No,” she whispers as darkness overtakes her.

~*~ TBL ~*~

It had been days since Lizzie was taken and days since Ray had started to look for her. Dr. Nick’s trail had ended in New Orleans. So far, they hadn’t found anything that would tie him to the area.

“As you can see Mr. White, there are miles upon miles of bayou. Looking for someone in this would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Ray looks to the guide that was trying to talk him out of going into the bayou to look for his fiancé. “I don’t care. I don’t think you understand the situation. My fiancé has been kidnapped and we tracked her here.”

“Not to mention all the ‘roads’ that don’t have any names to them.”

“What do you mean, ‘roads’? What kind of ‘roads’ are we talking about?”?

“They were access roads. Most of them were to rangers stations. Some of them just ran through the bayou to get to different places. Most got washed out because of Katrina. No one really goes to those places anymore. And unless you have the right vehicle, once you go in you might not come back.”

“Can you see some of these access roads from the river?” Dembe asks, taking a step towards the two men.

“Some of them,” he remarks. “Not all of them.”

Ray nods his head. “Let’s go.” The three pile onto the airboat and begin their journey down the river, keeping a close eye on the coast. “Stop,” Ray says turning to their guide, who stops the boat. He turns it towards a spot where they could easily get off.

“Be careful. There might be gators around. Just because we don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t around,” their guide warns them.

Ray and Dembe carefully maneuver themselves from the boat to land. Both draw their guns as they walk towards a small building that was still standing despite being exposed to the elements. They take a careful look through the building finding nothing. Ray stands outside of the place looking towards the woods, wanting desperately to find his Lizzie. He whirls around as Dembe lets out a shriek that he decided was rather girly and then a thud. He sees Dembe on the ground his gaze horrified and was slowly crawling away from the water as a gator comes out and starts toward them. Ray’s eyes go wide as he sees how huge this gator was.

“Run in a straight line, then circle back. He will get tired quickly and stop chasing you,” their guide tells them. The two take off as the gator keeps following them. They double back and head towards the boat. The guide pulls away from the coast, heading down the river a little more. Ray and Dembe keep their eyes trained on the forest, hoping to see something. Hoping to see anything, really. Just not another animal.

Ray sighs as the day comes to a close. They were no closer to finding Lizzie than when they started this morning. He just hoped that she could hold on for just a little while longer. He had no idea what she was going through, but he sent up a small prayer. He wasn’t a religious man, but he was going to need all the help he could get.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Days since she had been taken from the warehouse. Days of withstanding the torture. He was trying to find out anything he could on Nora, but for now, she wasn’t giving anything up. And when he wouldn’t get anything out of her about Nora, he started trying to use Ray against her. She was very surprised when she learned that he knew A LOT about their relationship. He wanted to know about Ray, what his weaknesses were, what he would be willing to give it all up for.

She saved her breath, never giving Nick a thing. He finally started getting tired of her silence and started raining blows onto her. Half the time she was drugged up and didn’t know which way was up or down. she must have been getting immune to the drugs he was giving her, as she was starting to come out of it easier and earlier.

She knew he would be making his weekly run to a small store that must have been close by. She had to work fast to make this work in her favor. She keeps laying on the floor while keeping her breathing even. He lays his hand onto her head before giving a smirk and walking out of the room. He didn’t even lock the door thinking she would still be incapacitated until he got back. As soon as the truck pulls away, she jumps to her feet. Her eyes were still blurry, but she could make out some shapes. She runs into what could only be the kitchen. She starts pulling open drawers until her hand closes over a knife.

She gasps at the stinging sensation on her hand before grabbing the handle. She looks toward the door when she hears his truck starting to come back. She looks towards the door in a panic. She grips the knife and stands behind the door. Nick walks in and starts rummaging around in the kitchen. He finds whatever he was looking for with an “Aha!” then heads toward the front door. He stops then turns and heads back to the room where he kept Lizzie. “Lizzie?” he calls. “You can't run from me Lizzie,” he yells before heading back towards the front door. She hides herself into the corner as tight as she can and he walks past. She lets out a soft sigh before the door swings open and away from her hiding spot. She swings her hand with the knife out. She hits something because he takes a few steps back. She takes that opportunity to dart out the door.

Nick grabs her foot and she falls to the ground with a grunt and twists herself onto her back. He crawls up her body while trying to reach for her neck. She tries to push him off, but with the drugs still running through her system she had no strength. She tries to push him off once again while trying to bring her still joined hands down to the side where the knife had fallen. She finally wraps her hand around the handle bringing it into his side. He falters for a moment but continues on. She chokes out before bringing it into his side once again. He stops this time and she takes this opportunity to push him off her. She runs out of the door and into the woods.

“Lizzie!” she hears him call. She doesn’t stop. She has no idea where she was going, but she just knew she had to get out of there. She stops to take a breath and listen to her surroundings. She thought she heard a car over to her right, so she heads off that way. The green was starting to turn a little lighter and the trees were starting to thin out a bit. She hears a car or what sounded like a car. She couldn’t be sure. She starts running towards the sounds. She throws herself out of the woods upon a clearing.

“Help! Please!” she gasps out. She turns as an ATV comes to a stop behind her. “Oh God, please help me.” The girl stares at Lizzie before yelling could be heard from the woods.

“Get on,” the girl says to her. Lizzie jumps onto the back of the ATV and they go speeding off down the trail. She doesn’t look back as they catch up to the rest of the ATV’s. They all stop at a building that had a banner advertising ATV rentals and tours.

“Thank you,” Lizzie says blinking her eyes as everything started to become a little clearer. “Jennifer?” she questions. The girl blinks at her a look of surprise coming across her face.

She points to herself. “Grace,” she remarks. “I think we should bring you to the hospital.” Grace guides Lizzie towards her car.

“No, no,” she tells her. “I need a phone please.”

“Sorry, Miss,” a guy comes out of the rental place, wiping a spot off his hand with a rag. “No cell phone reception here. You won't be able to get any reception till you get closer to the city.”

“Alright, we’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone. Let’s head to the hospital and then you can call whoever you need to call. Sir, do you happen to have a pair of bolt cutters?” he nods his head before ducking back into the store.

“Grace, can we meet you back at the hotel later?” one of the guys asks.

“Sure, I’ll bring her into the hospital and help her get settled, then I will meet you guys there.”

The guy comes out of the shop with a pair of bolt cutters. Lizzie holds her hands out but closes her eyes, not wanting to see how close they came to her skin. She feels the pressure of the handcuffs release and she sighs out. “Thank you,” she tells him softly.

“Don’t mention it,” he remarks. Grace starts to guide Lizzie towards a car in the parking lot. Lizzie sits in the front seat, but keeps the door open.

“Would you like some water? I have a few bottles in a cooler in the trunk. Some granola bars as well.”

“Oh, food. Yes, please,” Lizzie tells her. Grace rummages around the trunk for a few minutes before shutting it and sliding into the driver’s seat. She starts the car, and looks over the woman sitting next to her as she closes the door. How the hell was she going to start this conversation?

Chapter Text

~*~ TBL ~*~

TEN

The two lapse into silence as Grace maneuvers the car onto the road to head back to the city. Lizzie taking a small bite of the granola bar and a small sip of water every now and then.

“So, I'm not sure what happened back there,” she remarks.

“It’s a long story. Um, I’m sorry I called you Jennifer. You look like a friend’s daughter.”

“You close with this ‘friend’?” Grace asks.

Lizzie eyes her for a moment before she gasps out. “You are her. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. You’ve changed your hair.”

Grace nods, wanted to know how this woman knew who she was. “I guess that’s what happens when you are trying to hide who you really are. How did you know?”

“My name is Elizabeth Scott,” Lizzie gets out.

“Wait, the FBI agent that’s been all over the news? That Elizabeth Scott?” Lizzie nods. “Wow. They said you disappeared from a Baltimore warehouse. That true?”

“Yeah. I was with my partners. We were tracking someone down. We went our separate ways to cover more ground. I ran into someone unexpected before he shot me, twice, and then just walked out of there with me.”

Grace nods her head and the two lapse into silence once again. She checks her phone, but there was still no service.

“You said I looked like your ‘friends’ daughter.” Lizzie nods. “How close are you and this ‘friend’?”

Lizzie sighs. “Listen, you seem like a bright girl. But can we just cut to the chase? My ‘friend’ is your father. I think you could have deduced that pretty easily.” Grace nods, as her hands grip the wheel a little tighter. “There is a lot of stuff that you don’t know. What has your mother told you about him?”

“Very little until I was old enough to understand. He’s a bad person, my father. He’s done unspeakable things.”

“Yes, I'm not afraid to admit that he’s done unspeakable things. But he’s not a bad person. The reason you guys’ lives were uprooted was because he was involved with something, he didn’t want to be involved with in the first place. He can tell you the specifics better than I can.”

“How close are you two?” she asks.

Lizzie sighs before a smile crosses her face. “He’s the love of my life.”

Grace picks her phone up once again and checks it. She smirks before swiping her thumb across the screen and hands it off to Lizzie. Lizzie’s hands were shaking so bad she could barely handle the phone. Grace takes the phone from her. “What’s the number?”

Lizzie relays Ray’s number and Grace listens to it ring. “Hello?” a deep voice asks as the line gets picked up.

“I'm looking for Ray,” she says to the strange man.

“Who is this?”

“My name is Grace. I found someone that I think belongs to you. We are heading to the hospital in New Orleans.”

“Elizabeth? You have Elizabeth?” the man asks again.

“Yes. She sort of stumbled onto my ATV path.”

“Okay. What’s your ETA?” the man asks again.

“Um, I'm not sure. I was just here for a friend’s bachelorette/bachelor party. Half an hour maybe.”

“Okay, well, we will meet you there.” Grace hangs up, before placing the phone on her lap.

“That was one strange man,” she remarks with a shake of her head.

“Dembe,” Lizzie mutters. Grace looks at her quickly. “His name is Dembe. He is Ray’s right hand man, body guard, chauffer. He is an amazing man. Listen, Dembe will know who you are the minute he sees you. Ray will too, but might be too focused on me to really see you. I can't wait to see my baby girl,” she breathes out.

“You’re what?” Grace asks looking in Lizzie’s direction with wide eyes.

“I have a daughter. Well, we have a daughter. Her name is Nora. She is perfect, smart as a whip. Your sister. You have a sister.”

“Sister? I have a sister?”

Lizzie nods her head but doesn’t say anything more. She had to let Grace work this out on her own. Lizzie tries to relax, to get comfortable in the seat, but she couldn’t. She didn’t know the state of Nick, and that scared her more than words could say. He knew where she lived. The people in her life. She couldn’t wait to be in Ray’s arms once again. That was the only time that she felt safe.

She lays her head back and places her hand over her stomach. She was starting to feel a little crampy, but she didn’t know if that was good or not. She turns to look out the window watching the scenery fly by. The trees were starting to separate and as they got closer to the city, they started disappearing all together. Grace pulls into the hospital parking lot and Lizzie jumps out of the car before it came to a full stop, tears rushing down her face as she spots Ray holding Nora.

“Mama!” Nora cries pushing against her father’s chest. Ray turns, handing Nora off to Dembe as he rushes to Lizzie. She cries out as she rushes into his arms, burying her face into neck. She lets out a sob, as she feels Ray’s arms wrap around her tighter.

“Ray,” she gasps out.

“It’s alright, sweetheart, I got you. I'm never letting you go again.”

“Mama! Mama!” tears continue to fall down her cheeks as they both turn to see Nora struggling in Dembe’s arms. Lizzie turns away, burying her face into Ray’s neck once again.

“Take me in, please. Something’s not right. The baby,” she gasps out. Ray takes no chance and swoops her up into his arms. She wraps her own arms around his neck as he walks into the hospital. A doctor sees them and rushes over.

“What’s wrong with her?” the doctor asks as he waves his hand and a nurse brings over a gurney.

“Her name is Special Agent Elizabeth Scott. She was kidnapped a week ago. She just got free. She was…is,” he corrects himself, “pregnant.”

“Pregnant? Agent Scott? Can you hear me? Do you know how far along you are?” he asks as he wheels her towards a room.

“I think about four weeks, maybe five,” she reaches out for Ray’s hand. “It was the weekend you surprised me by coming home early. Nora was at Ressler’s, although I didn’t know why he and Sarah had offered to babysit.”

Ray gives her a soft smile. “I remember sweetheart.”

The doctor rushes Lizzie into a room while looking over his shoulder at the nurses rushing along with him. “Someone page OB and get them down here stat. We need to know what we are dealing with here.” One of the nurses turns to a phone on the wall.

“Ray,” Lizzie calls out. He comes to her side and takes her hand. Tears leak out of her eyes. “I'm so sorry.”

He looks down at her with sad eyes. “Sweetheart, you have no reason to be sorry. None of this was your fault. I love you so much. No matter what happens. Just remember that.” Another doctor walks in and she smiles at them politely.

“So Agent Scott, how are we feeling?”

“Pain,” Lizzie gasps out.

“Can you tell me how far along you think you are?”

“About four weeks, maybe five weeks,” Lizzie answers grasping Ray’s hand as another wave of pain shoots through her abdomen.

“Alright, well, I’ve got an ultrasound machine coming in. We’ll see where we are. You were taken, correct?”

Lizzie nods. “Yeah, he kept me drugged. But I started spotting after a few days. He found out I was pregnant and adjusted the drugs so it wouldn’t be harmful to the baby.” The doctor looks over at Lizzie confused. “He’s a surgeon.”

Ray leans down and places a kiss on her forehead. “I'm going to find him. Don’t worry about that.”

“I'm not sure what you’re gonna find. I stabbed him a few times. That’s how I got away.” Their gaze gets pulled away from each other as the sound of a heartbeat fills the room. They were so wrapped up in each other that they didn’t even realize an ultrasound machine was wheeled into the room, and the doctor had started.

“Looks like your baby is doing okay. Heartbeat is a little high. I'm going to admit you for a few days. Get your fluids up and flush out whatever medication he gave you. We’ll see if your little munchkin slows its heartbeat down after that.”

“And if it doesn’t?” Ray asks looking concerned.

“Then there is something else going on. But let’s get the medication out of her system first,” she turns back to look at the ultrasound machine. “And it looks like…” The door swings open to reveal a harried looking Ressler. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a grey t-shirt that was inside out, making it seem as if he had gotten dressed quickly. “Who are you?” the doctor asks noticing the gun clipped to his side.

“That’s my partner,” Lizzie remarks giving Ressler a smile. He crosses the room to her side. Ray moves from her side for a moment so Ressler could give her a hug.

“What’s going on? Are you okay?” he asks with concern. He notices the ultrasound machine. “Are you…?”

“Yes,” Lizzie beams at him.

“How far?” Ressler takes a step back and allows Ray to take his place by her side once again. Lizzie takes his hand and the two turn to look at the doctor once again.

“Okay,” she says with a smile who looks at the screen in front of her. “I’d say you are measuring at about six to seven weeks.” Ray starts laughing and a blush blooms over Lizzie’s face. She drops her face into her hand, muttering.

Ressler looks between the two. “Should I be worried?”

“No, I'm farther along than I thought. And, well, I know where we…” she waves her hand as she trails off sheepishly.

“Conceived,” Ray boasts.

“Do I want to know?” Ressler asks even though he really didn’t want to know.

“Probably not,” Lizzie mutters.

“The Post Office,” Ray grins.

A look of disgust crosses Ressler’s face. “Do I want to know…?”

“No!” Lizzie exclaims. Ray starts laughing as Ressler pretends to gag.

“I'm glad that you two are okay,” Ressler says. “I just want you to know that I'm not here in an official capacity. But Cooper will need to talk to you. He might have me get your statement.”

“I know. Can you give me a few days? They are going to admit me. They want to flush the drugs out of my system.”

“Absolutely. I also think there is someone out in the hall who wants to see their mama. She is not happy.”

“Oh, Ress, bring her in. I completely ignored her, but now that I found out the baby is okay, I want to see her.”

Ressler heads toward the door, and waves Dembe in. He pauses noticing someone sitting next to the bodyguard. His eyes go wide as he recognizes the face from the pictures Liz had shown him. Dembe walks past him and he nods as he walks past the agent and into the room.

“Mama! Mama! Papa!” Nora cries out as she sees her parents. Ray takes Nora and tries to calm her down, but she wasn’t having it. She holds her hands out to Lizzie, who takes her into her arms. Nora wraps her arms around Lizzie’s neck and gives her mother an open mouthed kiss.

“Oh, sweet girl,” she mutters into her daughter’s hair.

“Dembe, my brother. Lizzie is about to give me another child,” Ray grins.

“I am happy for you,” Dembe gives Ray a hug and the two turn to look at the screen on the ultrasound machine. “Having a family looks well on you.”

Chapter Text

~*~ TBL ~*~

ELEVEN

Finally, Ray and Lizzie were alone. Dembe and Ressler had taken a very sleepy Nora back to the safe house Ray and Dembe were currently occupying. Lizzie nuzzles into Ray’s neck, breathing his scent in deeply. She was loathed to let him go, let him out of her sight. She might have to go to therapy after this.

“Ray…” she trails off, as she looks over at him, to find his eyes were closed. She sighs out before snuggling back into him.

“Lizzie?” he questions as he opens his eyes to look at her. She looks at him as a tear leaves her eye and travels down her face. “Sweetheart?”

“He…uh…he took my ring. I was wearing it on the chain, and afterwards when I woke up in his truck, he had it,” Ray’s arms tighten around her. As she starts crying once again. “He took my ring,” she murmurs once again.

“It’s alright, sweetheart. I will get your ring back.” He drops a kiss onto her head.

“Ray?” she asks once again, slowly this time. Not sure how he would respond. He looks at her, waiting for her to ask her question. “Is it okay, if I want a different ring? Something that’s not tainted by him? I feel like I should want my ring back, but at the same time I don’t. He has taken something from me. Something that should have been a joyful time for us and turned it around, twisted it. I love our family and our baby, but sometimes during the time I was gone, I wished I would have mis…” she trails off, she lets out a sob pulling herself even closer to Ray. “He threatened Nora. Told me that he was going to take her so we could be a…a family.”

Ray’s heart breaks for his Lizzie. What she must have went through. He had his people out and looking for him. If Lizzie stabbed him, then he was either out there already dead, in which case, he was going to find some way to bring him back from the dead, just to torture him. Or, he was in some hospital getting patched up. If that was the case, Ray would know soon enough.

“Ray?” Lizzie asks, once again. He catches her eyes, wondering what was going to come out of her mouth next. “I want to get married. I don’t want to wait anymore. If you don’t want me to take your name, that’s fine. I know having ‘Reddington’ as a last name, will bring a lot of things our way. That’s why we agreed for Nora to have ‘Scott’ as a last name.” she watches him, watching the wheels turn in his head. “Ray?”

“You want to get married?”

“Yes. I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to be your wife.”

“How soon?”

“Can we do it tomorrow?”

He smiles at her. “I could grease some wheels, but I'm not sure if we could get past the three day waiting period. I don’t have any contacts in the department here.”

She beams at him. “Well…” she waves her IV’d arm at him. “I'm not going anywhere. You could fly Cooper, Aram and Samar in. I don’t have any other family, Ray. You and Dembe and Kate and the rest of our team are the only family I have.”

He thinks about this for a moment. Mulling everything over in his mind. “Where do you want to do this?” he finally asks.

“Really?” she asks. “On the beach.” She blinks a few times, trying to keep the sandman away. “Do you think Dembe would walk me down the aisle?” she slurs finally letting sleep overtake her.

“I am sure he would be honored,” his whispered, laying his head against hers and closing his eyes as well.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Ray wakes up the next morning to find the bed empty next to him. He looks over to see Lizzie coming out of the bathroom. She smiles at him and then pulls herself onto the bed, snuggling into him.

“Ray, I was thinking…” she trails off. “I think I want to take some time off. Now that you are willing to talk to Ressler about the names on the list, I would like to take some time off. I'm gonna talk to Cooper. See what my options are.”

Ray nods his head. “If you feel you need to. I will support you 100%.”

“Thank you,” she replies leaning over and giving him a kiss. There was a knock at the door and a nurse pokes her head into the room. She smiles when she sees the two of them. She walks in and over to the IV, checking everything over.

“My name is Dani and I will be your nurse until seven o’clock. I'm just gonna change out your IV really quick. And also, I have someone waiting to talk to you. Her name is Grace.”

“Oh,” Lizzie says. Ray notices a look he couldn’t quite decipher. Shock, maybe? “Alright, uh, send her in.”

She breathes out slowly as her stomach turns, the morning sickness starting to kick in. She pushes the nurse away and heads towards the bathroom, making it just in time. Ray pulls her hair back as she gets sick. “Morning sickness?” the nurse questions.

“Afraid so,” he tells her. “Are you okay sweetheart?” he asks as she finally pushes away from the toilet.

“Yeah,” she replies quietly before turning to the nurse. “Can you tell my friend to give me a few minutes? And is there any way I can get a toothbrush, some toothpaste and mouthwash?”

She nurse smiles brightly at her. “Sure. I will be back in a few minutes.” Lizzie sits down on the toilet, heaving out a sigh. “I think our son hates me,” she grumbles.

“Our son?” Ray asks with a big grin.

“Call it mother’s intuition,” she tells him. Lizzie looks up at him while handing a hair elastic over to him. “Can you?”

“Sure,” he replies. He runs his fingers through her hair a few times getting all the tangles out. He then starts to French braid her hair.

“It still amazes me that you can do this,” she tells him. They turn as the door to her room opens and the nurse walks in. she hands the items over to Lizzie, who sighs in relief seeing a toothbrush and toothpaste.

“Sorry, couldn’t find any mouthwash. But I'm sure the gift shop in the lobby might have some.”

“I will send my assistant out to the store to get her some. It’s been hell the past few days for all of us. I will also have him pick you up some clothes. So you don’t have to be stuck in this gown. Although, it does have its advantages,” he says as the back of the gown opened while she was leaning over to brush her teeth.

“Raymond!” she chastises him as she feels his hand rubbing her back and getting lower every time his hand went down.

“What?” he asks as if he was doing nothing wrong. “Like I said, it’s been a trying few days. And we are getting married, I'm allowed to cop a feel.”

“Maybe in the privacy of our bedroom, not here with the nurse three feet from us,” she says laughing. She turns from the sink and wraps her arms around his neck, nuzzling into him. “Love you.”

He gives her a kiss on her head. “Love you too. Now, go get in bed and get your IV in. I am going to use your toothbrush to brush my teeth, then I am going to call Dembe to get him to do a few errands for me.” Lizzie gives him another kiss before she walks over to the bed while trying to hold her gown closed. Ray turns to the nurse. “She will be able to wear regular clothes, correct? She doesn’t need to stay in the gown?”

“Oh, yeah. She can wear regular clothes.”

Ray gives a brief nod before turning to the bathroom. He quickly brushes his own teeth before walking into the room to see the nurse finishing up the IV. “Can you tell my friend she can come in, in five minutes?” Lizzie asks the nurse, who smiles and nods before walking out of the room. “Come here,” she turns to Ray and pats the bed next to her. He crosses the room and gets onto the bed next to her. “Now, I want to be truthful here, okay? So, just let me explain.” He nods his head, curious about where she going with this. “When I made my escape, I ran across an ATV path. This girl Grace, saved my life. I could hear Nick screaming from somewhere behind me. She told me to get on and she got me the hell out of there. You will know who she is just by looking at her. So, I just want you to know that whatever happened, it was purely accidental. Do you believe me?”

“Of course. Whoever she is, I am going to have to give her a big hug. She saved your life Elizabeth. She saved our child,” he places his hand onto her abdomen. She then places her hand over his. There was a soft knock at the door and they both turn to look at the door.

“Come in,” she calls out. The door opens and grace walks in with plastic bags in each hand. Ray gasps as he takes in the girl, no, woman standing in the doorway. He turns to look at Lizzie who only nods her head, a soft smile on her face.

“I…uh…I brought you a few things. Your…uh…bodyguard or whoever he is said it would be a nice gesture. There’s a mall and…” she trails off as she catches Ray’s gaze for the first time since walking in. “I…uh…wanted to….went to Bath & Body Works. Got you some…uh…shampoo and stuff…” she stops as Ray gets off the bed and walks over to her. “Hi.” He takes the last step and wraps his arms around his daughter for the first time in years. She extracts herself from his arms, places the bags on the floor and gives him a shy smile. “Okay…uh…let’s try that again.” He wraps his arms around her again while she wraps her own arms around him. Lizzie starts to tear up as Jennifer lets out a “Dad.”

Chapter Text

TWELVE

Lizzie laid on her side on the bed while Nora played silently with some blocks next to her. She starts giggling as Nora gets excited when she makes a tower. Dembe smiles while looking over at the two. He was hanging out in her room while Ray and Jennifer had found a quiet spot in the stairwell at the end of the hall.

It had been Lizzie who had kicked them out of her room, after a morning of longing looks between the two. Knowing that they wanted to talk, but were both too afraid to make the first move.

Dembe gets up as the door open and the doctor walks in holding a few supplies. She quickly looks around the room and eyes Dembe. The doctor grabs Lizzie’s arm before pulling out the IV. “What’s going on?” Dembe asks walking over to the bed. Lizzie looks worriedly at Dembe.

“I just got a call from the ER. There is a man with a gun. He is looking for her,” she nods her head toward Lizzie. “We locked the main doors to get onto our floor, but there are other ways to get onto the floor.”

“What’s his name?” Lizzie asks as she gets out of the bed. She hands Nora to Dembe before walking over to where a duffle bag sat in the corner. She pulls a pair of yoga pants out of the bag and slips them on. “Go find Ray. Please,” Lizzie turns to look at Dembe. He nods silently before heading out of the room. “Besides the stairwell at the end of the hall, where is there another exit? Somewhere where it doesn’t head into the ER?”

“The service elevator,” the doctor announces.

“Where is that?” Lizzie asks taking off the gown and pulling on a shirt. The door swings open and they turn to see Dembe standing there. “Where’s Nora?” she asks noticing he didn’t have her daughter.

“She is with Raymond. They are getting out of here. We will meet them at the jet.” Lizzie suddenly places a hand onto her mouth and heads towards the bathroom. Dembe follows her, holding her hair back as she gets sick.

“Seriously?” she gasps out. “You choose now? Ugh!” she moans out as another wave of sickness passes over her.

“Get her back into bed. She cannot go anywhere like that,” the doctor says. Lizzie waves Dembe off as he tries to help her up. She gets up by herself and grabs the toothbrush she left there. She quickly brushes her teeth before allowing Dembe to help her. He wraps his arm around her waist, guiding her out of the room. The doctor leads them to where the service elevator is. “This will lead you down to the garage. But it does stop at the ER. Be careful.”

“Have the police been notified?” Dembe asks as they start to get onto the elevator.

“I believe so,” the doctor remarks. Dembe gives a brief nod as the doors close.

“Ray, Nora and Jennifer made it out correct?” Lizzie asks looking up at Dembe.

“I'm not sure,” he answers truthfully. “I explained what was going on when I found them. He took Nora and then told me to come back and protect you. We are supposed to meet at a central point in an hour.”

“Where?” he looks at Lizzie with what only could be described as caution. “Just in case we get separated.”

“In the French quarter. There is a bar called Rousseau’s. Raymond knows the owner. Her name is Jordyn. Tell her who you are. Hopefully Raymond will be there before you. If you can't get there…”

“I’ll call Ressler. He’s still in town,” she replies. They both lapse into silence watching the numbers. They both breathe a sigh of relief as they pass the ER and head down toward the garage. The elevator comes to a stop and Dembe pulls his gun out before the doors open. He immediately pushes Lizzie behind him. She grips the back of Dembe’s jacket as she hears Nick’s voice.

“I’m not afraid to shoot, if you don’t hand her over. Me and Lizzie, here, have some unfinished business,” he says.

“Then shoot me, because I’m not giving her over to the likes of you,” Dembe slowly backs Nick up as the two walk off the elevator. He backs Lizzie up to the opening of the garage. “Run Elizabeth,” he tells her.

“She leaves and I'm putting a bullet in her stomach. She would not only lose that baby that she’s carrying, but she will also lose her life. I know the exact spot that would cause the most pain,” Nick moves his gun and aims it at Lizzie.

“You even think about pulling that trigger and I will put a bullet in your brain. I know for a fact that her fiancé has killed for her and I will as well,” Dembe replies slowly backing them towards the mouth of the garage. They were close enough where she could take off easily. “Go!” he whispers. Lizzie takes a deep breath before taking off. She rounds the corner as she hears a gun shot, but doesn’t look back. It took some time to find her way to the French quarter and to Rousseau’s.

She grabbed a sweatshirt off a bench from a girl who would rather play tonsil hockey with her boyfriend than pay attention to anything else. She slips it on over the simple tank top she wore. She had tossed the hospital gown as soon as she left the hospital grounds, not having been able to change out of it before she left the hospital.

She finally stops to ask someone where the bar was, hoping they knew. The last few times she stopped to ask, but they were tourists, and didn’t know where it was. The guy gives her a bright smile before pointing her in the right direction. “Thank you so much,” she tells him. She heads in the direction the guy told her to go and breathes out a sigh of relief as she spots the sign to the bar. She stops and pulls her hair back, making herself a little more presentable.

She opens the door and nearly gets knocked over as someone slams into her legs. She looks down while a pair of blue/green eyes look up at her. “Mama!” Nora squeals. Lizzie scoops up Nora, holding her daughter close.

“Nora!” she hears. Ray comes into view and breathes out as he catches sight of Nora with her mother. “Lizzie!” she smiles at him as they both move towards each other. Ray gathers her and Nora into his arms, giving her a kiss. “Are you okay?” he tries to check her over, but Nora wouldn’t let go.

“I'm fine. I'm not sure about Dembe though,” she takes a deep breathe.

“Jennifer, can you grab a glass of water please?” he asks, turning to his daughter. For the first time since Lizzie walked into the bar, she noticed Jennifer sitting at a table in the corner. Jennifer nods and heads towards the bar to get what Ray had asked for. She walks over a few seconds later with a bottle of water. Jennifer hands it to Lizzie.

“Thank you,” she says taking the lid off and taking a long sip of the cool water.

“Now, tell me what happened,” Ray says running his hand over Lizzie’s back in a soothing manner.

“Dembe and I were able to get to the service elevator. The doctor warned us that it stopped at the ER when we were leaving. We made it past the ER with no problem. It was when we got to the garage that we encountered Nick. Dembe has his gun, but I was defenseless. Dembe tried to get me as close to the entrance of the garage as he could. We were close enough that he told me to run. So, I did. I heard a gunshot as I took off, so I'm not sure who did it. I'm so sorry, Ray,” she remarks. “I just ran, I didn’t stop.”

“Your safe, Lizzie. Dembe was doing what was right. He was protecting you and our child,” he tells her, rubbing her stomach where their child was nestled.

“Dembe!” Lizzie calls out seeing the bodyguard walk through the door. She breathes out a sigh of relief as she gets up, adjusting a sleeping Nora. She walks a few steps over to him and gives him a brief hug.

“My brother, thank God are you okay,” Ray walks over and wraps his arm around Dembe. Ray takes a step back and walks over to Lizzie. He wraps his arm around Lizzie and she lays her head on his shoulder, while closing her eyes. “What happened with the doctor?”

“I took him out. He is now in custody of New Orleans Police Department. I talked to Ressler on the way. He is going to take custody and bring him back to DC.” Lizzie sighs and turns her face into Ray’s neck. She was ready to have a normal life, but being Raymond Reddington’s fiancé/wife and an FBI agent her life would never be normal.

Chapter Text

THIRTEEN

“Are you sure?” Ray asks for what Lizzie thought was the millionth time. She rolls her eyes at him and smirks when he glares at her. She was lying in bed at the hotel Ray had gotten for them after another round in the hospital after the whole Nick thing went down.

“Geez, Ray, you make it sound like I'm an invalid,” she remarks. She turns her body to lay flat on her back, bringing a sleeping Nora with her. She runs her hand up and down Nora’s back as the girl makes a whining noise at being moved.

“I know you’re not an invalid sweetheart, but I almost lost you again,” he says. “And the doctor told you to take it easy.” He takes a seat on the edge of the bed while laying his hand onto her abdomen. “I want you to take it easy because this little life means everything.”

She lays her hand on top of his. “I know, Ray. I know. Believe me, Samar and Dembe are going to take good care of us. If I feel tired or anything else, I will sit down. I carried Nora for nine months half the time on the run. Trust me, Ray, I got this. I know my body,” she explains.

“If you say so, sweetheart,” he tells her, dropping a kiss onto her head. She smiles brightly at him, while bringing her hands to his face. She pulls him towards her and he grins, while pulling himself fully onto the bed. He lays down next to her, laying his hand over Nora’s back. The girl wiggles, but then gets comfortable and goes back to snoring quietly.

They both smile as they gaze down at their daughter. “She reminds me so much of you,” Lizzie says. “Her mannerisms, the way she looks at me sometimes. Do you have any baby pictures? It would be fun to compare yours and hers. To see how much you two look alike. I just wish I had a baby picture. I don’t have any pictures until I came to live with Sam,” she trails off as a tear slips down her cheek.

Ray catches it, while leaning over and giving Lizzie a kiss. He pulls himself closer to her and she closes her eyes, relishing in the closeness. She couldn’t wait to be married to this man. She breathes in his scent before closing her eyes. A short nap with the two most important people in her life wouldn’t hurt. She feels Ray start to get up, but she tightens her hand on his.

“Stay,” she says quietly.

“I've got stuff to do sweetheart. Stuff to get done before tomorrow,” he tells her.

“It’ll keep. Have a nap with me and Nora,” she looks at him with a pleading look. “It’s what the baby wants.” He huffs out a breath and she grins knowing she won. He lays back down next to his family and Lizzie snuggles into him, loving his warmth and his scent, something that was so uniquely Raymond that she couldn’t quite identify it. He closes his eyes and settles next to his fiancé. He needed more siestas with his family.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Dembe walks out of his room to see Jennifer pacing in the hallway. She was whispering into her cell phone furiously. He stops and waits as she finishes her call before hanging up angrily. “Everything okay?” he asks slowly, not sure what brought her ire on.

“My mother. Demanding I come home. Like I'm some errant child or something. Ugh, she makes me so angry sometimes. She’s ‘worried’ about me. Wants me home to her before someone finds out who I ‘am’. I am probably the safest where I am now than when I am with her,” she remarks looking Dembe over.

“That’s very true,” he says. She paces a few more times trying to work something out in her head. “Have you seen your father?” Dembe questions. Jennifer didn’t seem to hear him as she was still pacing. She stops pacing long enough to look at Dembe.

“Did you say something?” she questions.

“Your father? Have you seen him?”

“I did a little while ago. He said something about going to talk to Liz. Haven’t seen him since,” she tells him with a shrug. “What?” she asks once she realizes he was still staring at her.

Dembe shakes his head. “Nothing. Just thinking that since you haven’t seen him since he went to talk to Elizabeth, that he a) got roped into talking, b) they are…um…”

“Having…” she trails off with a cringe. Talking about her father that way was just…disgusting.

Dembe nods his head. “Yes, that. Or the third option, option c is that they are having what they call a ‘family snuggle’.”

“A family snuggle?” Jennifer asks incredulous.

“Yes, in the weeks after Nora was born Elizabeth slept a lot. Roped Raymond into laying down with her and the baby. Until it became a daily occurrence. And once Elizabeth was back at work and us back to our ‘business trips’ it was something he looked forward to when we came back.”

“Can I ask you something?” she asks, not sure how the bodyguard would answer the question rolling around in her head. She watches as he nods. “Why does Nora call him papa and not daddy?”

“You picked up on that, huh?” he asks. She nods. “Well, he uh, he didn’t want to be called daddy. He figured that he was still in pain over losing you. He was daddy to you, and that has a special place in his heart. He wanted to be papa to Nora.”

“Wow!” she says, shock lacing her words. “Wow!” she says again.

“It’s a lot to take in, I know,” Dembe remarks.

“Yes, it is,” she says. “When my mom got taken a while back with that excuse of a man she called a husband at the time she said she got rescued but she wouldn’t say by who. So I didn’t know it was my father. She never talked about him, but when she did, she didn’t have very good things to say about him. I had my judgements about him as well. But when I met Liz, they all went out the window. And when I talked to him, and we had an honest conversation, I couldn’t believe I had judged him so harshly. I couldn’t believe the stuff that came out of my mother’s mouth about him. But I look back on it now, and I realize she was angry about our lives getting uprooted and having to live somewhere else and be someone else. She never forgave him for anything that happened. And even now, I don’t think she forgives him, even after he saved her.”

Dembe nods his head. “Very insightful. And were you able to talk to your father about any of this?”

“Oh yes. I was. I see now that my mother was trying to pit me against him. I got a lot off my chest with him. I see he is a good man. Flawed, but good none the less. Liz talked about how he has two sides of him. Ray, who we all get to see. The father, the family man. While the rest of the world sees Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, the Concierge of Crime.”

Dembe nods once again. “She once told him that. The suits he wears, the aura he puts off for everyone. It’s just armor.”

“I suppose that’s just the psychologist in Liz,” she remarks. “I'm gonna go find my father.” She turns on her heel, abruptly ending the conversation. She walks over to the room she knew her father and Liz were staying in. she knocks on the door, but doesn’t get a response. She pushes the door open, while giving a light knock. “Dad? Liz?” she questions. She takes a step into the room and smiles at the sight that greeted her. Her father and Liz both sleeping with Nora nestled in between the two.

“Did you find them?” Dembe asks coming in behind Jennifer. He spies the three on the bed and smiles. “Come and let them sleep. Would you be willing to run a few errands with me? Just to get a few things done before tomorrow?”

“Sure,” she says following him out of the room.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Lizzie wakes with a groan, blinking against the sleepiness. She turns to see Nora sitting up playing with a few blocks while Ray looks on with a smile on his face. Nora fits two of the blocks together and claps.

“Good job babygirl,” he coos to his daughter. He turns his gaze to Lizzie. “How was your nap?”

“Mmm,” she says with a smile before leaning over to give him a kiss. “It was great. Thank you for laying down with me.”

“I always love our family snuggles,” he replies.

“Mama, look,” Nora interrupts, showing Lizzie how the two blocks connected together.

“Good job baby,” she tells her with a bright smile. She loves how smart her daughter was. Even at a year old. She spies the clock on the bedside table and gasps. She climbs out of bed and runs into the bathroom.

“Everything okay sweetheart?” Ray asks with concern.

“Yeah,” she calls back. “We were supposed to go dress shopping and I slept through our appointment time.”

“I talked to Samar. Dembe called and talked to the boutique, explained everything and you have a new appointment time. Dembe and Jennifer stepped out a little bit ago to run a few errands, but they will meet you and Samar there. Take a few minutes to get ready. You have some time.”

“Awesome!” she tells him as she comes out brushing her teeth. “Ray, give that man a raise. He deserves one.” Ray laughs and continues watching Nora play with her Legos. He turns to stare at his fiancé as she comes out of the bathroom in just a pair of shorts, her t-shirt having been discarded in the bathroom. Lizzie rummages through her suitcase looking for something to wear. “Ray,” she says looking up from grabbing some clothes. “Ray!” she yells.

He shakes his head. “Yes sweetheart?” she motions to their daughter. He finally notices Nora had her hand on his shoulder. “Nora girl?”

“Papa,” she says putting her hand onto his face and making sure she had his undivided attention. “Papa,” she says again while rubbing her belly.

“You hungry?” he asks already knowing the answer.

“Hunry,” she tells him with a nod of her head. He gets up from the bed and walks over to her bag. He rummages through and finds a package of goldfish.

“What are you going to do while we are gone?” she asks.

“Order some room service. Nora is getting hungry,” he tells her.

“You know what would make me love you?” she asks.

He grins lasciviously at her. She smiles while shaking her head at him. “You already love me.”

“Love you even more?” she asks. He chuckles while waiting for her to continue. “If you would get me a BLT for dinner? Extra bacon. I'm suddenly craving bacon.” He chuckles once again.

“Okay sweetheart,” he says. There was a knock at the door and they both turn. “That must be Samar. You should get going.” She walks over to him while wrapping her arms around his neck and bringing him in for a kiss.

“Love you,” she says before turning on her heal and walking over to the door. She pulls it open to see Samar standing there, patiently waiting.

“You ready?” she asks and Lizzie nods.

~*~ TBL ~*~

They get to the boutique and immediately head in seeing Dembe and Jennifer talking quietly. “You made it,” Dembe remarks with a grin as the four meet.

“Okay, which one of you in the bride?” a young lady asks as she walks over. Lizzie raises her hand. “Okay, follow me.” she leads them to a plush white couch. “My name is Jessica. I hear you are getting married tomorrow?”

“Yes. We’ve been engaged for a while now. My work is crazy, so we decided to just bite the bullet and get married. I was married once before and it obviously didn’t work out. That was sort of my dream wedding, and so this is going to be very low key. Between the two of us, we only have a handful of people coming. So I want something simple. Nothing to extravagant. Short, maybe.”

The lady nods her head while listening to Lizzie. “All right, I think we can find a few things. What’s the price point?”

“No price point. Whatever she wants,” Dembe butts in.

The lady looked taken aback. “All right. If you would follow me.” Lizzie gets up and follows Jessica back to the dressing rooms. She hands Lizzie a robe. “Now do we need to set you up with some lingerie? We have a great selection. Are you looking for a veil?”

Lizzie thinks about her questions for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, lingerie sounds good. Should we find a dress and then go from there?” Jessica nods.

“I'm going to go and get a few dresses for you to try on.”

Lizzie nods her head and then undresses after Jessica leaves and puts her robe on. She comes back a few minutes later with a few dresses. The next 45 minutes were spent trying on dress after dress, and between the four of them they didn’t like any of them. Jessica finally allows Dembe, Samar and Jennifer to come back and look through the dresses. They each take one and Jessica brings them back to Lizzie. She looks at them and sighs, hoping she will like at least one of them. She was disappointed that she hadn’t found anything that took her breath away that made her feel she was putting on something special. She tries the first two dresses on and she liked the two, but there wasn’t a spark. She pulls the third dress off the hanger and out of the bag and smiles when she sees it.

It was a spaghetti strapped, short dress. It had a light blue sash just under the bust. It had lace over satin with delicate flowers on the lace. It was just what she wanted. She discards the robe and grabs the dress, slipping it on. “Jessica?” she calls. Jessica pokes her head into the dressing room and smiles seeing the look on Lizzie’s face. Jessica zips the back of the dress and it fits Lizzie perfectly. She turns and looks at herself in the mirror. She smiles when she sees herself. It was perfect.

She turns to look at Jessica who smiles at her. “You look beautiful. And by the way you are looking at yourself in the mirror you think so as well.”

“Some things are worth waiting for,” Lizzie replies.

“Something tells me you are not just talking about the dress,” Jessica replies. Lizzie catches her face in the mirror just smiling. “All right, are you ready to go and show your friends?” Lizzie nods and the two walk out of the dressing room.

“Wow,” Samar remarks.

“Elizabeth, you look beautiful,” Dembe tells her. Jennifer nods her agreement.

“Well, that’s the first time you’ve all agreed to something. So what do you say?” Jessica asks.

“Yes,” Lizzie tells her. Jessica smiles and then leads her back into the dressing room. Lizzie gets dressed while Jessica gets her dress into a bag.

“Is there anything else that you need? We have a nice selection of lingerie, garters, and shoes.”

“Sure, I’ll have a look,” Lizzie tells her.

By the time they left Lizzie had found a lingerie set to go under her dress, a red nightgown for the wedding night, a garter to go under her dress and a cute pair of white silk ballet flats, while she found a dress for Nora and shoes to match.

She walks out of the shop with a smile on her face. They stop for a quick lunch before heading back to the hotel. She grins as she sees Ray, sitting on the couch in the main room going through a file in front of him. He gets up with a bright smile seeing Lizzie holding a garment bag and Dembe all the other bags.

“Did you find everything you were looking for?” he asks.

“I did,” she replies while wrapping her arms around him and giving him a kiss.

Chapter Text

FOURTEEN

Lizzie looks around at the hustle and bustle around her. She was wearing a pair of black slacks and a white button down just waiting for the time when she was supposed to get dressed. She was standing in the middle of the smallest ballroom while the hotel staff got the room ready for the wedding. They didn’t have very many people in their life so it wasn’t a very big wedding. She had her team from the Post Office while Ray had a few close friends coming. Namely Dembe and Mr. Kaplan.

“Mama! Mama!” Lizzie smiles when she hears Nora behind her.

“Don’t you know, its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding,” she smarts without turning around.

“Posh,” Ray says back. “Trust me on this one sweetheart, with the way our life has been going, we’ve already had some bad luck and it hasn’t stopped us yet.”

“That is very true,” she remarks with a nod of her head. She smiles as she turns around and he gasps.

“You are truly exquisite,” he says taking a few steps and with his free hand pulls her toward him.

“I'm not even in my dress yet,” she says.

“You will still be exquisite. I cannot wait to make you my wife,” he tells her leaning down and giving her a kiss.

“Ray, do you think Dembe would be willing to walk me down the aisle? Even though we are getting married on the beach and it’s a short aisle?” Ray beams at her.

“I think he would be delighted sweetheart. Why don’t you ask him now?” Ray nods to somewhere behind Lizzie. She turns and smiles as she sees Dembe walking toward them.

“Dembe, I was wondering if you would be willing to walk me down the aisle? Even though it’s on the beach?” Lizzie poses her question, looking up at the man she considers a brother. She blushes under his scrutiny before he grins widely at her. He pulls her into a hug. Oh, how she loved Dembe hugs.

“I would be honored to,” he tells her.

“Thank you,” she whispers, laying her forehead on his broad chest.

“Dem—Dem! Hug!” they hear Nora yell. They turn to see Nora holding her arms out. “Mama!” she yells, getting frustrated. Lizzie chuckles before taking Nora from Ray. Nora drops a slobbery kiss onto her mother’s cheek before wrapping her arms around Dembe’s neck. “Dem-Dem!”

“Hello Nore-Nore,” he whispers as Lizzie takes a step back into Ray’s arms, and they watch as Nora cuddles into Dembe. They thought she was about to fall asleep, but she sees something over Dembe’s shoulder.

“Don-Don!” she yells, making Dembe flinch. She struggles in his arms before he puts her down. They watch as she runs towards Ressler, who was walking into the ballroom with Jennifer. Besides the three standing there, Ressler is her favorite person.

“Nore-Nore!” he says, lighting up at the toddler running towards him. He scoops her up and tosses her into the air. She squeals in happiness as he catches her, placing her on his hip.

“Hi Nora,” Jennifer says with a smile. She turns to look at Jennifer and stares at her for a moment before turning back to Ressler. Jennifer sighs and looks down at her feet.

“It’s alright Jennifer. She’ll come around,” Ressler tells her, running his hand up and down her back in a soothing manner. She shrugs, not saying anything.

“What’s wrong?” her father’s concerned voice asks as they get over to the three.

“Nora,” Ressler supplies.

“Still getting a cold reception?” Lizzie asks. Jennifer nods, not saying anything. “She’ll come around. Don’t worry. You’re new to her. She’ll understand soon enough that you are here to stay.”

“Sar-Sar!” Nora calls out. The group turns to see Samar walking in.

“Hey Nora,” she coos at the girl. She gives the girl a noisy kiss, making Nora giggle. She turns to Lizzie, “Are you ready?”

Lizzie looks at Samar with a confused look. “Ready for what?” she turns to look at Ray. “What did you do?”

“Me?” he ask appalled. “What makes you think I did anything?” she keeps staring at him, waiting for him to crack. “Okay, I thought it would good for you to be pampered. So I made an appointment for you girls to go to the spa. Then you have a hair appointment. By the time you are done, it would be just in time for the wedding.”

“Well, what about the baby?”

“Oh, they have a special package for momma’s-to-be. Don’t worry sweetheart,” Ray tells her. She grins brightly at him before wrapping her arms around his neck and giving him a kiss that some of their company had to turn their gaze away from.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Lizzie sighs as she leans back in the plush leather chair. Her hair was wrapped tightly in a towel, while the bathrobe she wore was sinfully soft. Lizzie and Jennifer were getting a pedicure and Samar, well, Lizzie didn’t know where she had wandered off to. Jennifer took a look over at Lizzie and then turns back to the lady that was doing her pedicure. She turns to look at Lizzie again but turns back. She turns again only to see Lizzie staring at her.

“This is the third time you’ve turned to look at me. Is there something you wanted? Or something you wanted to ask me?”

“Maybe…” she trails off. “I don’t know. I have so many questions, so many thoughts swirling through my head right now.”

“That’s understandable. Ask me what you truly want to know and then we can go from there. I know you talked to your father a great deal while I was in the hospital. But everything that’s happened, happened so fast.”

“Yeah,” Jennifer says quietly. “What happened? How did you guys end up here? Like this?” she gestures to Lizzie’s form.

“Uh, that’s a loaded question. Ray was sent on a mission. He couldn’t disobey a command from his superiors. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Ray and his team, they were sent to kill my father. My father had stolen something. Something called The Fulcrum. It was a blackmail file on some of our nation’s top rulers. At the time he didn’t know his team and his superior were dirty. He didn’t know they were supposed to kill my family. Your father somehow learned of their intentions and tried to stop them. It ended up with one of his team mates knocking him out and setting fire to my house. He woke up to the house on fire. He was looking for an escape route when he must have heard me crying. My father hid me in a closet, so they wouldn’t find me. Ray risked his life to try and find me. He eventually found me in a closet. He scooped me up and ran through the house. Just as we were making it to safety, a beam fell on us. His jacket caught on fire. The way I was positioned, my arm got caught as well.” Lizzie holds up her wrist to show Jennifer the burn mark.

“What happened after that?” she asks.

“He managed to get us out of the house after that. He brought me to a trusted friend of his, Sam, the person who raised me. My dad. A few months after that night, Sam took me camping with a few friends and their kids. I had a complete meltdown at the sight of the campfire. It was then that Sam got in touch with Ray and they had my memories blocked. And plus, I had nightmares for months after the night of the fire. That was another reason as well.”

“Did you ever see him after that night?”

“Only when he turned himself into the FBI. I was a rookie. My first day on the job, and this guy, who I had no idea who he was, turns himself in. Crazy business. Ray and his list,” she mutters.

“What about us? Me and my mother?”

“The group was called the Cabal. Well, the night of the fire after your father went against orders, they decided to teach him a lesson. They took you and your mother and put you into witness protection. Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to find you or get to you. He has spent the last 25 years or so wondering what happened until a few years ago when one of your father’s enemies, someone called Berlin, found your mother. Your father saved her, and she told him she had no idea where you were. I'm not sure how true that was at the time. I honestly wasn’t expecting to find you in the middle of the woods in New Orleans. And honestly, I wouldn’t have known who you were when I saw you if we hadn’t had to make an age progression on a picture of yours.”

“Age progression? Why would you have to make one of those?” Jennifer asks, more interested in this story than she thought.

“Well, about a year ago or so your father was shot. The doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. There was a blood shortage and they needed all the help they could get. Dembe and I were going to try and find you. Ray found out when he got better and freaked out.”

“He didn’t want to find me?” Jennifer asks quietly. This conversation was taking a turn she didn’t like.

“He didn’t want you to be part of this life that we lead. He didn’t want you to know the kind of man he turned out to be. I mean, yes, he’s a little rough around the edges. But once you get to know him, he’s soft. When he loves, he loves unconditionally.”

Jennifer sits back, thinking over everything Lizzie had told her. She didn’t know how to comprehend everything. “So, he did want to find me?”

“He did. He loves you with everything he has. He never stopped hoping that you were alive. When he was in the hospital, Dembe and I went to see your mother. She was no help. She told us she didn’t know where you were. Which I find hard to believe, when a few short months later we run into you, well, I run into you.”

“Honestly, she didn’t know where I was. We’re in contact, but I refused to meet her face to face. I always did think that she knew more than she was saying. She always spoke negatively about him, but now that I know the truth…” she trails off.

“Does it change anything?”

“He’s still my father and I still love him. I think it will take me some time before everything sinks in. I’ve always wondered what happened to him. I was always a daddy’s girl. Now, I guess I will pass that torch onto Nora.”

“My dad always told me that no matter how old I got, I would always be a daddy’s girl. So, I could say the same to you. No matter how old you get, you will always be a daddy’s girl.”

Jennifer thinks this over and the two lapse into silence, each lost in their own thoughts. They continue on in silence just letting the workers pamper them. Soon they finish and head over to get their hair done.

Lizzie chose to have her hair curled with half of it pulled back by a diamond-crusted barrette Ray had sent to the place beforehand. Jennifer had her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and got that curled while Samar had her curls tamed and pulled into a low side ponytail.

“Looking good, ladies,” the lady behind the front desk says.

Lizzie smiles brightly at her. “Thank you.”

~*~ TBL ~*~

“Sweetheart, you are absolutely breathtaking,” Ray says as Lizzie walks into the room after getting pampered for the day. She smiles brightly at him. He leans down and gives her a quick kiss. “I will be out of your hair in a minute. I know you and the girls are getting ready in here. Nora’s stuff is all ready for her. She should be getting up from her nap soon.” He gives her another kiss before heading for the door. “I will see you soon my love.”

“I will be the one in white,” she tells him with another smile. He grins widely at her before taking her face into his hands and giving her another kiss. He then takes a step back and heads out of the room. She turns to where her dress was hanging up. She couldn’t believe she was marrying the love of her life. She thought Tom was it for her, but their love was nothing compared to what she felt with Ray. She turns to look at the bed and sees Nora still sleeping. She grabs the bag that had her under-dress lingerie and heads into the bathroom. She quickly strips down before hearing her room door open.

“Liz?” she hears Samar question.

“In the bedroom. You can come in,” she tells her. She walks out of the bathroom, tying the bathrobe closed.

“Are you ready to marry my dad?” Jennifer asks quietly.

“I sure am. I’ve been ready since he asked me.”

“Which time?” Samar quips. Lizzie laughs while Jennifer looks on questioningly.

“What does that mean?” she asks curious.

“Well, the first time he asked me was when we brought Nora home and he presented our house to me. I said yes. The second time, was after he got shot. We had had a huge fight about finding you. Dembe and I were going to start looking for you, but your dad didn’t want to. He completely freaked out. He had just gotten home from the hospital and he could barely walk, but he started getting things together to leave. It was not one of our finest moments. But I took Nora and left, leaving the ring on the table when I did. One night a few weeks later, he called to ask if we could meet to talk. Ressler kept Nora so we could talk. I end up at the house and walk in to every sort of flower imaginable. He chose all these flowers with all these meanings and when I got to the end, he was down on his knee with my ring in his hand. And here we are.”

“Well, not exactly,” Samar says.

“Well, yes, not exactly. There was that whole pesky getting kidnapped thing.” The bedroom door opens and they see a disheveled Nora walking out, holding her blanket and stuffed monkey. “Hey baby,” Lizzie coos, picking Nora up and snuggling with her.

“So, what about a ring?” Jennifer asks looking as Lizzie runs her hand up and down Nora’s back from where she was sitting on one of the couches.

Lizzie shrugs. “He said he was going to take care of it. I really liked my ring. But I also didn’t want it tainted by that maniac.”

“Did he get you another ring?” Jennifer asks.

Lizzie shakes her head. “I loved my ring. So I told him that it didn’t matter if I got a new ring. Besides, when we had to check things out at work and wear gloves, I always had to take it off. With just our wedding bands, I am free to wear the gloves. We actually chose our wedding bands with that particular thing in mind.”

A phone rings and Samar excuses herself to take the call. Jennifer watches as the agent walks out, making sure they were alone. “May I speak freely about something?”

“Of course. Don’t think you need to hold anything back with me.” Lizzie places Nora down before walking into the bedroom and coming out with Nora’s diaper bag and a plastic shopping bag. She sits down, placing Nora onto her lap before starting to pull her hair into two pigtails.

Jennifer takes a deep breath watching Lizzie work on Nora’s hair. “My mother is against this whole thing. And she also thinks I should be against this as well. But I'm not. I know my father loves you. He loves you so much Liz. And I'm glad that I’ve gotten to know you a little more today. I wasn’t so sure in the beginning, but after today, I’ve come to realize you and my father have been through a lot. So, thank you.”

“Jennifer, you never have to thank me for anything.” Lizzie places Nora onto the couch next to her, opening a plastic container that had some goldfish in it. Nora smiles brightly upon seeing her favorite snack.

“Your family now, you can call me Jenn.” Lizzie smiles at her before getting up and walking into the bedroom where her dress bag was hanging up. Jenn takes it when she notices Lizzie falter. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just a bit of nausea,” she replies. “Baby is getting excited, I guess.” She then places one hand onto her mouth while the other one goes to her stomach. “I’ll be right back,” she turns onto her heel before making her way into her bedroom. She comes back a few minutes later carrying a bag with Nora’s dress in it while giving Jenn a smile. “I just threw up my breakfast, but I feel much better.” She sees the disgusted look on Jenn’s face and laughs. “Don’t worry, I brushed my teeth.” Jenn chuckles before unzipping the dress bag and taking the dress out. Jenn helps Lizzie get into her dress.

Samar walks back into the room, with a light blue dress on. “You look really nice, Agent Navabi,” Jenn comments.

“Thank you. You can call me Samar. Why don’t I help Liz and you go get dressed?”

“What about Nora?” Jenn asks.

“I’ve learned its best to wait until we are ready to walk out of the door. Besides, half the time she likes to squish those little crackers. I do not want it all over her dress.” Jenn nods and walks towards the bedroom she was using. Samar helps Lizzie zip her dress up before tying the silver sash that was around her waist. The sash was originally blue, but she had exchanged it for silver to match Ray’s suit. They both turn to look in a mirror that was standing against the wall. “Wow,” Lizzie says.

“You look beautiful. Are you ready to get married?”

“Absolutely.”

Jenn walks out of her bedroom and the two turn to look at her. “You look great, Jenn.” Jenn had chosen a short, one-shouldered purple dress.

“Thanks.” There was a knock on the door and Jenn walks over to the door, opening it to reveal Dembe, who was wearing a suit and a happy grin on his face.

“Dembe, you look good,” Lizzie remarks, seeing Ray’s right-hand man standing in the doorway.

“Thank you Elizabeth,” he remarks. “Are you ready?”

“I am, but unfortunately Nora is not. She is just having a bit of a snack. We will get her cleaned up and in her dress in a few minutes. Do not worry. We will not be late.”

Between the three women, Nora was cleaned up and dressed within a matter of minutes. She had a cute little white dress on with a silver sash, much like her mother. She had chosen not to make Nora wear tights, but had little white sandals to go with her outfit. She picks Nora up and settles her onto her hip, while slipping into the ballet flats that she had chosen. Samar and Jenn walk ahead as Nora starts to cry. Nora turns her head toward the room. “Do you want your blankie or your monkey?” Lizzie asks, running her hand up and down her daughter’s back.

“Blankie and monkey,” Nora says leaning up and giving her mother a kiss on the cheek. “Pretty mama.” Lizzie smiles while looking at Dembe. He nods and heads into the room bringing back the blanket and the monkey. Nora smiles and hugs the monkey close as she does her blanket. Lizzie loops her arm through Dembe’s as they walk down the hall towards the elevators.

Chapter Text

FIFTEEN

They head to the beach and Lizzie smiles when she sees her family gathered, waiting for her. She stops short and places Nora onto the ground. “There’s Papa,” she whispers. “Go see him.”

Nora grins and runs to Ray. “Papa!” she squeals. She runs toward him and everyone chuckles at her exuberance. He scoops her up into his arms, giving her a kiss on the cheek. He turns and gasps at the sight of his Lizzie. He knew she would be beautiful.

She halts Dembe for a moment and kicks off her shoes. Ray smiles as he watches Lizzie do this. They walk a few more steps and Ray hands Nora off to Ressler as Dembe leans down to give her a kiss on the cheek before going over to stand next to Ray.

“Friends, we have been invited here today to share with Raymond and Elizabeth a very important moment in their lives. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife. Who supports this woman in her marriage to this man?” the Justice of the Peace asks the crowd.

“We do,” Cooper and Ressler say together. The Justice chuckles and starts talking about being in love, before reading from bible.

“First Corinthians chapter 13, verse four,” he says in his southern accent. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Lizzie and Ray grin at each other. “I love you,” they whisper to each other.

The Justice talks for a few more minutes before looking towards the crowd. “The couple has decided to write their own vows. Elizabeth,” the Justice announces while looking at Lizzie.

“Mama,” Nora calls happily. Ray and Lizzie turn to see Nora put her hand to her mouth and blow her a kiss. They smile at their daughter.

She takes a deep breath before smiling at Ray. “Okay, well, let’s see if I can do this and not cry,” she remarks making their friends all chuckle. “I once thought that I found love. That I already had something amazing, but the day you walked into my life, I was wrong. You challenged me, frustrated me to no end, you made me laugh and you made me cry. You were there and then you weren’t, and I didn’t know if I could go on without you. Then one day everything changed and I started to see a little ‘Ray’ behind the ‘Red’. Slowly, but surely I was falling in love with you. And I was so scared, because I had no idea how you would react. Then that day in the hospital everything changed. You took care of me and I started to see that you loved me. That you would do anything for me, be anything for me; and it made me fall in love with you all over again. I thought the end was near when I told you about our baby and yeah, we had some time apart but we persevered. We’ve had more obstacles thrown our way than most people, but we came through it. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you, Ray. Always and forever.”

“Raymond,” the Justice says, turning towards Ray.

“Papa!” Nora squeals.

Ray gives a nervous chuckle. “Well, I'm not sure if I can follow that, but I will try,” he says making everyone laugh including Lizzie. “When I first saw you, I knew that you were different. I let you go all those years ago, and in the time we were apart I thought about you quite often. What you were up to, what you were like, how you turned out. When you walked down those steps years later, and sat across from me, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. I learned how frustrating and maddening you could be. And when I was with you, I felt more alive than I had in years. You challenged me, you fought me, you defied me but at the end of the day, I fell more in love with you. I love how soft you are, and how hard you can be. I love to watch you with our daughter. I love everything about you Lizzie. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Always and forever.”

And then it was the time for the rings. Lizzie had no idea what Ray had up his sleeve for another engagement ring, since Nick the psychopath had hers in his possession when she had escaped. Even if she didn’t get another ring, she was okay with just having a wedding band. She really liked the bands they had chosen for each other. They had also chosen simple chains for each other, to wear when they were on the job.

“And now the rings,” the Justice says. Lizzie and Ray grin at each other. They both turn to Samar and Dembe, who each had the rings. “Now repeat after me. I, Elizabeth, give you, Raymond, this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you." Lizzie repeats as a tear slides down her cheek. “Raymond has asked that he be allowed to give an extra ring, since apparently something happened to the last one.” Lizzie giggles at the Justice’s curious look. Ray slides both her new engagement ring on her finger as well as the wedding band.

“Oh, Ray!” she exclaims as she sees her new ring. Three round diamonds sat all in a row. He follows the Justice’s prompts as he says the words to her, getting choked up in the process.

"By the power vested in me by the State of Louisiana, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Everyone claps as Ray takes a step forward and presses his lips to Lizzie’s. Their first kiss as husband and wife. There was a whistle as they break the kiss, grinning at each other.

“We’re married,” she whispers to Ray.

“That we are, sweetheart,” he whispers back to her. She wraps her arms around his neck and gives him another kiss.

“Alright you two, get a room,” Ressler yells. Lizzie breaks the kiss laughing and they turn to their friends. Ray leads Lizzie back down their makeshift aisle, scooping up her shoes as they go, everyone following behind.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve taken the liberty to hire a photographer,” Ressler says, nodding his head towards a woman who had a camera around her neck. “I figured you would like a few pictures to commemorate this occasion.”

“Don,” Lizzie gasps. She whirls around and gives her partner a hug.

“I'm Claudia,” she says. “So, if you have a few minutes. I could take some pictures. I know this isn’t a traditional wedding. But I could take a few family pics and whatnot.”

Ray and Lizzie take a look at each other before nodding. “Sure,” Lizzie says with a bright smile. For the next half hour or so they all took pictures together. Lizzie sees Nora standing with her feet in the soft sand, giggling as the tide washed up and over her feet. Lizzie walks over and kneels next to her daughter, not caring if she got sand on her dress. “Hey baby,” she whispers. Nora turns to look at her mother.

“Mama, look,” she says pointing out over the ocean. Ray walks over and kneels next to his daughter on the other side. Lizzie looks out over the ocean to see the sun setting.

“That’s pretty, baby,” she says. She leans over and gives Nora a kiss on her cheek, making the girl giggle. They were in their own world and they didn’t even hear the clicking of the camera.

“Papa,” Nora says, looking at Ray. “Up pease.” Ray chuckles before standing up and then picking Nora up. He holds out a hand for Lizzie and helps her up. She brushes a hand over her dress, getting the sand off before taking a step towards Ray. He wraps his arm around her as Nora lays her head on his shoulder. “Love you Papa, Mama,” Nora whispers before closing her eyes.

“We love you too,” Lizzie whispers, nuzzling into Ray’s neck. They watch as the sun goes down over the horizon.

“Ready to get back to the hotel?” Ray asks with a whisper. Lizzie turns to look to see they were completely alone.

“I say we skip the party altogether, and get to the wedding night.”

“I wouldn’t object,” he says, making her laugh.

“Come on you two!” they hear. They both turn to see Ressler standing on the sidewalk. “Yes, I know it’s your wedding day, but come on. Have some food, or in your case, Liz, eat and then probably throw it up because your baby apparently doesn’t like anything. So, you’ll eat, have your first dance, shove cake into each other’s mouths and then I will take Nora and you guys can have your wedding night.”

“Okay,” Lizzie says with a shrug and a sigh. “And I don’t throw everything up.”

Ray chuckles as the two walk back to the hotel after Ressler.

~*~ TBL ~*~

“Wow,” Lizzie remarks walking into the small ballroom where their ‘reception’ would be held. ‘Reception’ wouldn’t be the best word to describe it, seeing as they only had a handful of people attending. But Ray, being the kind of guy he was, wanted the best for Lizzie and with the money Ray has, the best is what Lizzie was going to get. The ballroom was decorated beautifully in a dark blue and silver color scheme. There were a few tables decorated, even though one or two of them were to be used.

Dinner was excellent, although, true to what Ressler had said, it had made her nauseous. The lights lowered until the room was dimly lit. The beginning cords of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ starts and Lizzie grins at Ray.

“Would the new bride and groom step onto the dance floor?” the DJ asks.

Ray leads Lizzie out onto the dance floor. He pulls her close, wrapping his arms around her waist as she wraps hers around his neck. They dance for a few minutes, whispering into each other’s ears before Ray stops when he feels a tug on his jacket. They both look down to see Nora standing there, sleepily rubbing her eyes. He grins before scooping her up into his arms. Lizzie grins at her two loves before they continue dancing, as a family.

They danced for a little while before Lizzie lets out a yawn, trying to hide it from Ray. He didn’t miss it though, and wanted to be done with this whole wedding party thing. He catches a hotel worker and explains to them that he would like the cake brought out. The worker runs off and a few minutes later, the cake appears. Lizzie knew she was in for a real treat. Ray, with a palate like his, would only choose the best.

“Please don’t get cake all over me,” she tells her husband. Ray only chuckles. They each cut a small piece before he brings the cake to her mouth. An explosion of flavor makes her moan. “That’s incredible.”

“I thought I was the only one who could make that sound come out of your mouth,” he tells her.

“Wait till you try the cake,” she giggles back. “But you are definitely good at making me make that sound. And you will definitely hear that sound tonight.”

“Ugh, come on you two. That’s gross,” Samar says, making everyone laugh. “That is too much information.”

Lizzie takes her piece and brings it to Ray’s mouth. He grins at her as he swallows his own piece of cake. “Wow, that is excellent.”

“You didn’t try it before you ordered?”

“No. I overheard someone when I was looking at the cakes. They raved about this one. So, I ordered without even trying it. Looks like I was right to do so.”

Soon, it was almost time for the newlyweds to go back to their room for the night. But before they made their getaway, Ray leads Lizzie to a chair. She realizes what Ray had in store for her and she tries to push him away. “No, this is not going to happen.”

“Oh, yes, it is. And when I get my hands on it, I'm flinging it straight at Donald’s head.”

“Oh my gosh,” she laughs. She feels his hands on her leg, traveling higher and higher. “Ray!” she warns as his hands suddenly got off course. She tries not to moan, as his hands disappear. “A few more minutes and I won't stop your wandering hands. But for the love that is holy, finish so I can get you upstairs.” Ray grins at her before pulling the garter down her leg. He grins as he sees the white and red garter with a cute little bow and a little silver heart attached. He slingshots it, straight at Ressler’s head. Lizzie laughs as Ressler turns as red as a tomato.

Ray then pushes Lizzie towards the doors making excuses that she wasn’t feeling good. But to everyone watching the pair, no one believed him. Lizzie wraps her arms around his neck kissing him deeply as they wait for the elevator. He pulls her as close to him as she could get. They were so into the kiss they didn’t hear someone walk up behind them and clear their throat. They break the kiss to see an older couple smiling at the two.

“Newlyweds?” the older gentleman asks, seeing the clothes Ray and Lizzie were wearing.

“Yes,” Lizzie says with a smile on her face. She was married, again. But she couldn’t help but think of the first time as a stepping stone to the love of her life. If Tom hadn’t come into her life, then Ray wouldn’t have either. She wouldn’t know his love like she does now. She was so into her thoughts she didn’t realize Ray had struck up a conversation with the gentleman until she heard her name.

“It may have taken a bit longer to find her, but I did find her. She is the love of my life,” Ray says, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her close to his side. The couple grins at them as Lizzie wraps her arms around his neck and lays her head on his chest. She closes her eyes, relishing in his warmth and scent. They turn as a ding signals the elevator’s arrival. They get on in silence and head up to their floor. The couple gets off before them and, when the doors close, Ray tips Lizzie’s face to his and kisses her once again. His hand travels down, over her waist, and to her leg.

“Ray, I suggest that, if you don’t want to have a quickie in the elevator, then you should stop that hand,” Lizzie tries to scold, but Ray had moved his lips to her neck, so it came out breathless.

“I wouldn’t oppose,” he whispers into her ear.

“I would. Security is probably getting an eyeful right now.” Ray silently curses as he takes a quick look at the camera on the ceiling of the elevator as it slows and dings upon arriving at their floor. Lizzie grabs his hand and leads him to their door. “What about Nora’s stuff?” she asks.

“Dembe has already taken care of it. He slipped out of the party earlier and brought a few things for Nora into Ressler’s room. Jennifer went with him and she grabbed some of her stuff as well. I got her a room for the night.”

“Good,” Lizzie drags Ray into their room and pushes him onto the bed. “I will be right back. I have a surprise for you.” She turns her back to him. “Unzip me please, dear husband.”

“Anything for you wife,” Ray gets up and slowly unzips Lizzie’s dress, dragging his knuckle down her back as her skin was revealed. She shudders before taking a step forward and out of his grasp.

“I will be right back.” She heads into the bathroom, pulling her new lingerie out of the bag and unwrapping it from tissue paper. She strips out of her clothes, being careful to hang her dress back up in its garment bag. She then pulls her new dark red nightgown on, liking the look of it on her. She takes the barrette out of her hair, letting her hair fall. She takes a deep breath, giving herself a look-over in the mirror. She nods before walking out of bathroom. Ray was sitting on the bed, having discarded his suit jacket. He was working on taking his cufflinks off, ones that Lizzie had gotten for him for his last birthday. He looks up when the door opens and his breath catches as he sees his wife.

“Wow. Lizzie, sweetheart, you look exquisite.” Lizzie blushes under his gaze. “If you weren’t already pregnant, tonight would surely get you that way.” Lizzie laughs out loud as Ray walks over to her. He grabs her hips and pulls her to him. She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him, while pushing him towards the bed. He laughs as he falls onto the bed, pulling her with him.

Afterwards they lay in silence with Lizzie’s head onto his chest. She was running her finger along one of the scars on his chest. “Husband,” she giggles.

“Wife,” he says back with a grin.

“I cannot wait to see what life throws at us next.”

Chapter Text

“So, this is it?” Ressler asks as he stands in the doorway watching Lizzie pack up her desk.

“For a while anyway,” she remarks. “I just want to have this baby and spend some time with him and Nora.”

“Have you guys thought about a name yet?” Ressler asks, taking a step into their office and taking a seat at his desk.

“Samuel Todd,” she remarks opening another drawer and taking a few things out before placing them in the box that was sitting on her desk. “After two of the best men I know.”

“Only two?” he asks with a smirk. She laughs before stopping and rubbing a hand over her stomach. Her face twists into a grimace before she leans forward. “Liz?” He jumps up from his desk and rushes over to his partner. He helps her ease down onto the chair. “Liz, what’s going on? What is it?”

“Something’s wrong,” she chokes out.

Ressler looks down and suddenly jumps up, reaching over for the phone. “Liz, you’re bleeding!” He quickly dials 911 before helping Lizzie up and out of their office.

“Ressler!” she calls out.

“I know. I know.” He leads her over to the elevator. “Samar! Aram!” he calls. Samar appears first and quickly walks over to Lizzie’s other side. Aram appears right after her. “Call Reddington. Tell him we’re heading to George Washington Hospital. Tell him to get there as soon as possible.”

Aram nods before heading off. Liz was starting to get pale and sweaty. “Ress,” she says softly.

“We’re getting onto the elevator right now. The ambulance should be waiting. Just hang on,” he says, tightening his grip on her as she starts to slump forward. He could feel Samar tighten her arm around Lizzie as well. “We’re almost there. Just hang on.” The elevator doors were barely open when the paramedics spring into action. They help load Lizzie onto the stretcher, strapping her on before putting her into the ambulance.

“Ress,” Lizzie calls out. He jumps into the ambulance next to her before taking her hand into his. “Ray?” she asks.

“Aram is getting in touch with him as we speak. Don’t worry. Everything is going to work out.”

“If something happens and we don’t make it, I want you to let Ray know that I love him.”

“Liz, don’t talk like that. You guys are going to be fine. Stop this crazy nonsense.”

She smiles softly before blinking her eyes a few times. It was getting harder and harder to pay attention. “Ress... If it comes down to him or me… save…save Sam. Tell Ray…tell him to save Sam.”

“Stop talking crazy,” he says with a grin.

She smiles at him while she blinks a few more times. “You’re a good man, Don. A good uncle. But I'm tired. Take care of them for me. Don’t let… don’t let Ray fall into the bottle. Love you… Don,” she says as her face slumps to the side, eyes finally closing.

“Liz! Liz! Elizabeth!” he calls out frantically. Ressler slides forward in his seat as the ambulance screeches to a halt. The doors swing open and Ressler can see doctors waiting.

The next few minutes were a flurry of activity as Lizzie gets taken out of the ambulance and rushed into the hospital. He watches as they rush her up to the surgical floor. A nurse stops him as they rush her down a hallway.

“That’s my partner,” he tells her. “Her husband isn’t here yet. I don’t want her to stay alone.” The nurse nods and leads him down the hall. She rustles up a pair of green scrubs and hands them to Ressler.

“Change into these,” she says. He turns and heads into a bathroom and comes out a few minutes later. The nurse then leads him into the operating room where Lizzie was. He immediately stops, seeing Lizzie laid out. A screen was put up right in front of her belly, hiding it from his sight and hers, should she wake. The doctors got to work quickly, Ressler taking her nonresponsive hand. He was silently praying that she would pull through and he wouldn’t have to make the tough decision between her and the baby.

Lizzie’s eyes open as Sam lets out a wail. She turns her head just in time to see Ressler cut the umbilical cord. Sam gets brought over to where another nurse waited, making sure everything was okay. He gets weighed, diapered and wrapped up in a blanket before being brought over and handed to Ressler. The nurse talks to him quietly before walking away.

“He’s healthy, Liz. Looks just like Red. Six pounds even. Seventeen inches. He’s small, but he’s healthy. That’s the best news.” He lowers Sam next to his mother. Lizzie breathes in his scent.

“Love you, Sammy,” she tells him softly. She closes her eyes as the monitors start beeping. The doctors and nurses spring into action, trying to find out what was happening. Ressler steps back from Lizzie as another nurse takes the baby out of Ressler’s arms and calmly leads him out of the room.

“You’ll be able to see him in the nursery, but for now you can wait in the waiting room.” Ressler nods, not really believing what was happening. He couldn’t lose Liz; she was his best friend. He didn’t even want to think about what Red would do. He starts pacing in the hall as the doors swing open. He turns to see a harried looking Red and Dembe walking down the hall towards him.

“What happened, Donald? All she was doing was packing up her desk.”

“I don’t know. We were talking in our office when all of a sudden she grabbed the desk and started breathing hard. I helped her sit down before noticing she was bleeding. We got her to an ambulance as fast as we could. They brought her into an emergency C-section. Sam’s healthy; a bit small, but healthy nonetheless. He’s six pounds even, seventeen inches long.”

Ray breathes out a sigh of relief before sagging briefly. “What’s happening now?”

“I don’t know. They didn’t say anything other than Sam was going to the nursery. She woke briefly when Sam was born. But then she passed back out and the machines started beeping. She told me in the ambulance if it came down to it, to save Sam.”

“Dad?” They turn to see Jennifer running down the hall. She was in scrubs herself having just finished her shift. “Everything okay? What’s going on?”

“It’s Elizabeth,” Ressler says. “Emergency C-section. Baby is fine. We’re just not sure what’s happening to her now.”

Jennifer nods before walking into the scrub room before scrubbing up and putting a facemask on. She walks into the room and confers with the doctor for a few minutes before walking back out into the hallway. “Jenn?” Ray asks.

“Well, she suffered what we call a placental abruption. It’s when the placenta suddenly pulls away from the inner wall of the uterus. The doctors managed to save the baby, and get him out before they lost them both. She was bleeding prettily heavily. They had to take out her uterus to get the bleeding under control. They will most likely have to tie her tubes so there is no chance of pregnancy in the future. I'm sorry dad.”

“It’s alright Jenn. We had talked about it. We were done. We had two. We were happy with that. Lizzie didn’t want any more than that.”

Ray takes a seat on one of the uncomfortable chairs lining the hallway. Dembe sits down next to him quietly. Ressler and Jenn take a seat across from them, talking quietly.

“Is there something happening between Agent Ressler and your daughter?” Dembe quietly asks.

Ray snorts before taking a look at the two across from them. They were both looking down at the phone in Jenn’s hand. “I'm surprised you didn’t pick up on it before now. They’ve been together almost since the wedding. Maybe a little after. Donald is a good man. I couldn’t ask for a better man for her, but if anyone asks I will deny it.” Dembe grins at his friend before his phone buzzes and he excuses himself to take the call. The doors open and Ray jumps up seeing the doctor walk out of the room, pulling his cap off.

“How is she?” Ray asks, worrying his hands.

“And you are?” the doctor asks.

“I'm her husband,” Ray says staring the doctor down.

“Well, she had a lot of bleeding. We had to take out her uterus to stop the bleeding. And we had to tie her tubes to really get the bleeding under control. I'm sorry. She will make a full recovery, but she will not be able to have any more kids.”

“Papa,” they hear from down the hall. They all turn to see Aram and Samar walking down the hall, Nora walking in between them. She lets go of their hands and runs to her father. Ray scoops her up and then turns toward the doctor.

“And the baby?” he asks.

“A little small but otherwise healthy. For now your son has been moved up to the nursery, and then your wife will be moved to a room on the labor and delivery floor. So they can keep an eye on her.”

“Thank you.”

~*~ TBL ~*~

Lizzie blinks her eyes a few times, adjusting to the light that floods her room. Her eyes finally adjust as she sees a figure standing at the window. “Ray?” she rasps out. Ray turns and smiles at his wife. He takes a few steps and perches on the bed by her hip.

He takes her hands in his and smiles down at her lovingly. “Hi, sweetheart.”

“Sammy?”

“He’s fine. I saw him and he is a mini me. But there are a few things I should tell you. They had to take out your uterus and tie your tubes to get the bleeding under control. You had what they call placental abruption. It’s where the placenta pulls away from the wall of your uterus. If Donald hadn’t gotten you to the hospital when he did, I would have lost you both.”

“Oh God,” she cries out. Lizzie wraps her arms around Ray, and they hold onto each other. “I guess it’s good that we decided to not have any more children then,” she tries to lighten the mood. “Have you held him yet?”

“No, I was waiting for you. I know Ressler held him for a second while you were in surgery. But I wanted you to be the first to hold him.”

“You are so sweet. I’d like to see him.”

“I’ll go get a nurse.” Ray leaves the room and comes back a few minutes later with a nurse holding their son. The nurse hands Sam to Lizzie before walking back out. She looks down at him, really seeing him for the first time.

“Welcome to the world Sammy. Mommy loves you.” She looks up at Ray with tears in her eyes. “When can we get Nora here? I want her to meet her brother.”

“Donald and Jenn will bring her in when visiting hours start.”

“I love our family,” she says, holding her hand out to Ray. He walks over to her and she pats the bed next to her. He takes a seat beside her and she holds Sam out to him. “Our little Samuel Todd.”

He grins at her as he takes their son from her. She lays her head onto his shoulder and they both look down at their son.

~*~ TBL ~*~

“Mama! Papa!” Lizzie looks up from where she’s staring at Sam’s face while he’s nursing. She smiles as she sees Ressler and Jenn walk into the room with gifts and Nora. Lizzie gives Ray a smile as he drapes a blanket over her shoulder, covering a still nursing Sam. Nora tries to get onto the bed with little success. “Papa!” she calls out, hoping her father would help her to where her mother sat. Ray lifts Nora onto the bed and they watch as she scrambles over to Lizzie.

“Be careful, Nora girl,” Ray says. “Watch your little brother.”

“Little brother?” Nora asks. She looks to her mother who nods. Nora crawls towards her mother more slowly than before. She peers inside the blanket and down at her brother before a smile crosses her face. She leans over and places a kiss onto Sam’s head. She looks up to see Ray smiling at the two of them while Jenn places her head onto her father’s shoulder, wrapping her arms around his waist. There was a soft knock at the door before Aram, Samar and Cooper walk into the room, all carrying an assortment of bags, balloons and teddy bears.

They each place their gifts onto the table in the corner. “We got Nora a little something,” Samar remarks, pulling out a t-shirt that proclaimed the wearer the ‘World’s Best Sister’.

Lizzie hands Sam off to Ray before fixing her shirt and taking the blanket off her shoulder. She leans back and tries to get comfortable, but the stitches make her uncomfortable. Ray smiles brightly as Dembe walks into the room. He comes to stand next to his employer before peering down at Sam.

“Looks just like you,” Dembe says.

“I think so as well,” Lizzie remarks. Ray hands Sam off to Jennifer before walking over to sit next to Lizzie on the bed while Nora claims a seat on her mother’s lap. The two watch as their extended ‘family’ coo over their newborn son. She lays her head onto Ray’s shoulder.

Whatever came next, they would handle it. They had each other and they had their family. She couldn’t wait to see what came next. And she couldn’t wait to see what life threw at her and Ray.