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Summary: Natalia finds herself face to face with an armed suspect while searching through a residence with Tripp. Her hand is right on the trigger, but she's still just that bit too late. Natalia/Frank

Categories: CSI: Miami - Ship Ahoy! > Other CSI: Miami het
Characters: Frank Tripp, Natalia Boa Vista
Genres: Hurt Comfort, Romance
Warnings: None
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 1458; Completed: Yes
Updated: 30 Mar 2013; Published: 30 Mar 2013

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The two police officers looked at each other, weapons drawn. Sergeant Tripp briefly nodded at her, and Natalia nodded as well before stepping aside and having Tripp push open the front door with his foot. "Miami Dade PD!" Natalia yelled, stepping into the luxurious mansion, being followed immediately by the other police officer.

When stumbling was heard, the two shared a brief look with each other, and then went their own direction, weapons still in position to shoot if needed. "I go this way," Tripp spoke, getting yet another nod from Natalia before making his way to what he assumed would be the kitchen and living room. Detective Boa Vista on the other hand, decided to go check out the higher floor. She thought that the stumble had come from there.

As she quietly placed a first foot on the stairs, her heart started thumping high in her chest. She carefully went up until she finally reached the higher floor. Every step higher had felt like one step closer to dying; every step had been harder to make and every minute that had gone by had felt like at least ten. She shouldn't be scared. She had gotten her permit and was holding her loaded gun right in her hands. She shouldn't be scared, she repeated to herself as she realized that whoever could have caused the stumbling might be armed as well.

She swallowed, making her way further into the hallway and kicking open each door she passed to concluded everything was clear just a couple of minutes later. She slowly took the same stairs down again and found Tripp at the bottom waiting for her. "Everything's clear," he stated.

"Upstairs, too," Natalia said. "I would have sworn that that sound we heard had come from there, though."

"Maybe just a raccoon or something, which crept in through an open window."

"Maybe..." Natalia pondered. "I remember at least one window being open, so it's always possible," she said, although she didn't quite believe it herself. She slowly copied Frank's movement and pushed her gun back in its holster... her hand, however, still lingering close to it.

In the moment that the sergeant turned around, a shot from a SIG-Sauer P229 fell, first crashing through the closed window and breaking it in pieces before grazing Frank's upper arm and piercing Natalia's shoulder. She went down almost immediately, the impact of the well directed shot toppling her backwards on the perfect cold floor.

She still managed to push her own hand against the wound, but couldn't get up anymore, nor even lift her head. It all went very fast from that particular moment. Frank immediately had his gun back up in position and glanced sideways at her to make sure he wasn't being caught in looking away again. "Are you all right?" He asked. Natalia merely moaned in response, the pain making it hard to form coherent words. Sergeant Tripp swiftly pulled out his cell to request back-up. "Back-up and an ambulance at 188, Coral Drive. Now!" He yelled, pushing his mobile phone back into his pocket.

He quietly moved in the direction where the shot had come from and looked through the crashed window to find everything undisturbed. This guy sure had a tendency to be able to hide himself well. Frank slowly walked back to his colleague and sat down beside her, loaded weapon still drawn. He didn't want to leave her alone. Back-up would be arriving in no time.

He carefully placed his gun back in its holster, moving her warm hand aside to put pressure on her bleeding wound with both of his, looking around him defensively. He'd reach out for his gun again and make the son-of-a-bitch pay.

Tripp momentarily looked down into Natalia's eyes and saw fear. "You're going to be fine," he said. Suddenly, her chocolate brown eyes widened even more, and Frank didn't quite understand. He soon heard the Hummers and the sound of an ambulance outside and understood. "Yeah, it's all right."

Natalia's eyes were still widened and Tripp now really understood what she'd meant. He suddenly felt the cold barrel of a loaded gun against the back of his head and he knew that he was going to die. He slowly heard the safety pin being removed and closed his eyes, when suddenly a shot fell from another direction and immediately after that a creepy loud bang. He could feel the white hot pain in his side and sank down, losing the pressure on Natalia's bullet wound, and coming to lie upon her. He'd passed out immediately.

Natalia looked around her wearily. Tripp was way too heavy. She vaguely heard the sound of Calleigh's court shoes on the perfect cold floor as the blonde squatted beside them. Behind her was Ryan. "Paramedics are on their way."

________________________________________

"Miss Boa Vista," Horatio spoke, seeing his detective awakening. Soon enough, Natalia slowly opened her eyes as well. She immediately squeezed them to slits again against the bright light coming in from the open window. She tried to lift her arm to shield her face from the brightness of the sun so that she could look at Horatio and Calleigh, who stood right beside him. As she looked a little closer, she noticed Ryan and Eric behind them, as well. However, when she tried lifting her arm, she was painfully reminded of what had happened before she'd landed in the hospital and found her left arm lying in a sling. She vaguely remembered herself and Frank going through a residence with their weapons drawn. She remembered a flash of white hot pain in her shoulder and something heavy on her chest that threatened to crush her. It had been Frank.

"W-Where's Frank?" Natalia whispered, her eyes still squeezed to slits as she mostly directed this to Horatio. She could see Ryan move over to close the curtains so that she could see better. "Thank you," she directed to him before Horatio had the chance to answer and she turned back to him.

"Frank's... still in surgery," Horatio answered truthfully. "The bullet has lodged right next to his spine. He's been lucky."

________________________________________

Finally, Natalia Boa Vista got some rest. She slowly lay back into the pillows. Her team mates had finally left her. Not that she didn't appreciate their effort to come over and stay with her, but she felt just really tired, and most of all she just wanted to visit Frank in the ICU. A nurse had come in to inform them that Sergeant Tripp had made it out of surgery just fine without complications and was currently in the recovery room. He'd have to be in ICU for one night before they'd let him share a hospital room with Natalia, although he'd most likely have to stay hospitalized longer than she.

Calleigh had been the last one to leave. She'd been gone for an hour to go get Natalia some clothes and personal stuff. When Natalia couldn't hear the sound of Calleigh's court shoes anymore, she carefully got out of her bed and winced. Apparently, broken ribs hurt more than she would have ever thought. She carefully slid into her slippers and walked towards the corridor. She looked from the left to the right cautiously and toed to the lift, taking it to ICU.

When she arrived there, she realized that she hadn't remembered the number. She walked over to the nurse station and asked politely where she could find Sergeant Tripp. The nurse looked at her awkwardly for an instant before directing her to the first door on her right. Natalia let out a sigh of relief as she turned around and padded in that direction. She was almost sure that the nurse had recognized her and would send her back to her floor.

Carefully, Natalia knocked and stepped inside. Frank Tripp seemed to be awake. She slowly made her way to the chair right beside the bed. She guessed Horatio or Calleigh had been there earlier. She carefully sat herself down on the chair and Frank carefully rolled his head to the side. She assumed that he couldn't properly speak with all the tubes running in and out of him. She didn't like seeing her colleague like this, and reached out to stroke his cheek. "Ta... lia..." he whispered, his voice too soft and weak for his behavior.

Natalia silently shed a tear. "I'm fine, Frank, but I wouldn't have been if you hadn't been there." Without thinking, she carefully reached out to kiss his cheek. When she pulled back and he tried opening his mouth to speak again, she leaned in like before, but planted her lips on his. "Don't speak. It's fine... We're fine."