Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

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Not Made of Stone Part 2/2
sophie_deangirl

Spoilers for The Stewmaker, Anslo Garrick, Madeline Pratt and The Judge, but before Mako Tanida.

I wrote this before what happened to Audrey in Mako Tanida.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything of The Blacklist.

Summary: Donald Ressler and Liz Keen find each other in the midst of deception and truths and discover what's really important. Each other.


Thanks for all of the great reviews! I was debating about continuing the story since I could fall into “fluffiness” so easily, but when I got such great feedback, I decided to finish it off properly with another chapter. Beware of fluffiness ahead. Thanks for the inspiration.




Chapter 2:


Donald woke up foggy and felt the dull pain that comes with injury. He also knew that if it weren’t for the pain medications, he’d be much worse off. Hospital stays were becoming way too routine for him, but as he struggled to remember why he was there at that moment, the startling realization that he had to know how Liz was caused him to jerk in a way that wasn’t in his favor. He groaned with the pain that rushed in to remind him.

“Careful, Donald,” said a familiar voice. “You know, we really have to stop meeting like this. People will start to talk.”

Donald looked over and saw Red, just as he had the last time he had been in the hospital, sitting in a chair, waiting for him to regain consciousness.

“Liz? Is she all right?” Donald asked tiredly.

Red could see even through the pain medication how much Donald worried and, more importantly, cared for Liz. It only elevated his respect for him.

Donald had pledged his unequivocal protection even to someone like him. His prejudices played no part in his commitment. No matter what the situation or who the person was, Donald knew with absolute clarity that his duty was to protect anyone in his charge from harm. In fact, it was more than just duty to him. It went beyond just doing the job. It was a personal mission statement for which he had fashioned the foundation of his character and career. Red knew that special consideration had been given to Liz, but it wasn’t just about her. It made Donald’s rescues all the more noble.

“She’s fine. I told her to stay at one of the rooms I have at a nearby hotel and get some sleep. I promised her that I would keep vigil here and to let her know when you awoke from your slumber. She hadn’t left your side for the last twelve hours.”

Donald nodded as he closed his eyes with fatigue.

“Good. Good.” he said, the strain in his breathing reflecting the exhaustion he felt.

“Thank you, Donald,” Red said, with earnestness in his voice that had surprised Donald. “For saving her life again.”

Donald opened his eyes again.

“You don’t have to thank me. I didn’t do it for you. I did it for her,” Donald said, not a hint of harsh recrimination in his voice, just an expression of truth.

Red knew it and smiled.

“An even better reason to express my gratitude then because, for once, it wasn’t about me. It was about her for the both of us.”

Donald had come to respect Reddington. When they had been trapped in the box by Anslo Garrick, Red had revealed much of his inner self to Donald and he had even moved him by his revelations. Suddenly, he didn’t see Red as an adversary and they did share one thing that bound them with an intimacy that Donald could never have expected. They both loved Liz and wanted her safe.

“In our little moment in the box, you said that I didn’t think much of you; quite the contrary, Donald. You forget, I know many things about you,” Red said nostalgically as if he had read Donald’s musings.

His voice almost had the same soft timbre it had when he was regaling Donald back in the box of all of the things he had wanted to do just one more time.

“I do know what kind of agent it takes to be given my case file. Not just one with tenacity and ambition, they are a dime a dozen in the FBI, but one with unwavering and unassailable principles, someone who is immune to the allure of the underworld as I know you are. You protected me when it would have been so much easier and safer for you to have abandoned your principles and let me die at the hands of Anslo. There are very few people in my life and in my line of work with whom I hold in as high regard as I do for you and not because you protected me. As you witnessed, I have a certain skillset myself, but because you value life. No matter who’s life is in your charge, you protect it. It’s that quality most of all that Lizzie needs. For what it is worth, I am grateful that it was those qualities as well as love that drove you to rescue her."

Donald listened with due respect in return for he knew Raymond Reddington didn't dole out compliments, let alone respect to just anyone, if anyone at all. He appreciated the admission. He smiled weakly.

"Careful, Reddington. I might get a swelled head," Donald said, pain lining his forehead.

"I’m afraid it’s too late for that," Red teased back.

“No matter how Liz feels about me...I will always protect her...You have my promise on that,” Donald said as he noticed pressure building in his chest and his breathing becoming more difficult.

Red saw the sincerity on Ressler’s face and believed his declaration wholeheartedly.

“I know I do, Donald. It’s one of the few things in my life that I would never doubt or question.”

Red then noticed a sudden change come over Donald's expression; a strained pain riddled his features. His breathing became more labored and talking was becoming impossible.

"Donald?" Red called out, but he knew distress when he saw it and pressed Donald's call button. "Donald?"

-0-0-0-

Liz was escorted to the hospital by Dembe. Red had called her to tell her that Donald's lung had collapsed again. He reassured her that Donald would be all right, that it was a setback, yes, but that he was strong and would recover fully. She and Red sat outside ICU waiting for permission to see Donald.

"I wish I had been here," Liz said.

"I think Donald would disagree. I don't think he would have wanted to frighten you."

"I'm glad you were here for him," she admitted.

"We were having a lovely chat."

"Dare I ask about what?" She said with a small, knowing smile.

"It was more about whom."

Liz stayed silent.

"His first thoughts were of you, Lizzie. He wanted to make sure you were safe," Red volunteered as Liz detected a look she didn't think was possible for him.

Admiration.

“He saved my life in so many ways,” she said almost dreamily. “So many times. He broke protocol to save me.”

“That shouldn’t surprise you,” Red pointed out.

“It did back then. He used to lecture me about making life and death decisions, that the lives of the many counted more than the life of one person.”

“And he proved that. He sacrificed himself to save you and the others. That's the difference between Harold and Donald. Harold follows rules no matter whose life is at stake, believing that not giving into terrorists is more important, but sometimes it's not as simple as that. Sometimes you have to break them, make difficult choices in order to save lives,”
Red said, revealing more in his words than he realized. "I may have threatened Donald, but in the end, I knew that I didn’t have to. I just had to show him that you were in danger and he had made his choice. He knew that once he gave up the code, his life would likely be forfeit, but he didn’t care about that.”

“And he’s been rescuing me ever since,” Liz said with a shaky smile.

“If self-sacrifice could be found in someone’s DNA, I’m sure they would find it in Donald Ressler,” Red said half-teasingly.

Liz giggled.

“I think you’re right about that,” she said, as her expression became a mix of wistfulness and worry. “I’m afraid I’ll lose him because of that quality.”

“And yet he wouldn’t be the man he is, the man you love without it,” Red pointed out.

Liz could only nod.

The doctor then approached them. Liz stood up, anxiety etched across her face.

“Mr. Ressler is resting comfortably and is out of immediate danger. He’s been asking for a Liz Keen?”

“Yes, that’s me,” she piped up.

“You can go in, but don't stay long. He needs his rest.”

“I understand.”

She turned to Red and he smiled acknowledging that she should go to him.

The doctor escorted her into Donald’s room and seeing all the machines helping him to stay comfortable and alive gave her a chill.

Donald turned to see who had walked in. He smiled widely, happiness at seeing her safe and standing there brought him a kind of pain relief that no medications ever could.

“Hey,” he rasped.

“Hey,” she responded back shyly.

Donald could see the raw concern on her face.

“I’m going to be okay,” he assured.

“I know. The doctor said you were...that you had a setback, but you’re going to be fine.”

Donald saw the tenuous grasp Liz had on her emotions and raised his arm to reach out to her, to hold her hand in reassurance. She caught the attempt and grabbed it, almost frantically. She sat in the nearby chair then brought his hand to her lips. Tears flooded her eyes as she absorbed the warmth and appreciated every movement he made as he curled his fingers around her hand.

“Hey, hey, I’m gonna be okay," Don repeated in reassurance.

“I know, but I’m...I’m scared.”

“Of what?” He asked.

“Of losing you.”

“You’re never going to lose me,” he said with a smile.

“You know you can’t make that promise...the work we do...the dangers we face…” she stuttered remembering all the times they had encountered Red’s blacklisters; how Anslo Garrick’s men had nearly killed the both of them. “And I’m not asking you to. It’s just that...I love you, so much...but...”

Donald exhaled a long breath of relief as if he had been holding it, waiting to hear those words from her. Though if she hadn’t said them, it wouldn’t have changed a thing for him or anything between them. He would have gladly been just her partner and nothing more as long as he was there for her, to protect her.

“But what?”

“I don’t know if I can handle losing you in the field…” she admitted. “I know it’s stupid, I mean, we’ve been partners for months...but even before this happened, when you got shot by Anslo Garrick, how you almost died, how you broke protocol to save my life…”

“How is it different now? I wouldn’t change my choices. I’d make them again.”

“I know you would. It's what I fell in love about you from the start and what I would never ask you to change or compromise, but it's because of your principles is why I'm scared. I don’t know if I could live without you.”

Donald listened and understood. Their line of work was inherently dangerous, now with Red’s blacklist, they were facing even more heinous criminals, the cream of the crop of criminals, Red being at the top of that list if he wasn't helping them and Donald wasn’t a fool, he knew that Red’s help was only as good as he wanted to continue to be helpful and Liz was a big part of that condition. He couldn’t change that and wouldn’t change it if it had meant that he hadn’t met Liz. He couldn’t regret anything that had already come to pass because it had all led to meeting and falling in love with Liz Keen.

“Come closer,” he beckoned as he lifted his hand to touch her face.

She complied, her head bowed. She felt his hand grace her cheek with gentleness, his thumb softly stroking it. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh. He lifted her chin up so that he could gaze at her. When she opened her eyes again, what met them were his bright blue ones, unclouded by the obvious pain he must have been feeling, staring back at her with a deep and abiding love just for her. It was something she had always wanted and thought she had seen with Tom, but she knew now that he had misled her with false declarations and promises. Don let his actions speak for him and they had with an unquestionable conviction. She felt it definitively and it warmed with a security she had never known with Tom.

“I can’t promise you that nothing will happen to me, any more than I could tell you that I could live without you in my life. I will never lie to you like that."

Liz smiled.

"I know," she said with her own soft conviction.

"What I do know in my body and in my soul is that I will be there for you no matter what happens. You’ll never feel alone. You’ll always feel loved. That’s a promise I can keep. Anything less than that, I couldn’t live with.”

She saw the unwavering determination and conviction in Don’s expression and in his voice and she knew that she felt the very same way about him. She didn’t have to say it, she knew he saw it in her eyes. He had always been able to read her feelings. His words and more importantly, his actions, were ones that she had believed in with everything in her. She realized that her true soulmate was right there in front of her and it took almost losing him to understand that. She had to face the lie of her life with Tom in order to see the truth of Don's devotion.

“Okay,” she said with a smile. “As long as we’re on the same page.”

Don weakly tried to pull her towards him and she got the message quickly. She helped by moving in and gently kissing him. When they parted, they both knew that all that had happened was meant to be to bring them to this moment, to each other and nothing could break them apart.


FIN. Thanks for reading and for inspiring this continuation so that the story had an appropriate ending.

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