Author: Javanyet PM
Though Maura returns to Toronto and her life with Nick, she has unfinished business with LaCroix.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,729 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 05-04-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2923203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By the time the taxi dropped Maura off at the loft she could practically taste Nick, could almost feel him in her hands. After mending things with her in Boston he'd spent the last week of his detective exchange with her at Anton's home, meeting her new friends and getting to know the woman she'd become during the nearly three months they'd been apart. Stronger, smarter, more secure than he'd ever known her, she was thoroughly intolerant of what she called his mania for his "ass-backward reliance on apology". She'd never been very happy with it, but now she was positively militant.
She'd come to accept the reasons why he'd left, but found it harder to forgive his instructions to his lawyer to make her his financial dependent. "You might as well have slapped me in the face, Bats, you know how I feel about living off of anyone. It was like you were trying to buy me off or something. It would save a whole lot of time," she told him when they were still setting their separation to rights, "if you'd think about how sorry you'd be before you fuck up. Trying to clean up your mess with 'sorry', it's like using a paper towel on dry paint. It might make you feel like you're trying, but it doesn't accomplish shit. Maybe it's time to embrace your inner existential klutz, and work on some coordination between your intentions and your actions, you know, like the Tarot Magician says."
Nick had listened calmly, realizing she was a little bit over the top for the time being but completely willing to let her vent. He figured she'd earned it, besides he'd trade that any day for the sadness in her eyes that the new fire had replaced. It lit a fire in him as well, and his hunger for her leaned more for body than blood.
"Ma flamme," he'd growled softly one night as she sat astride him, the strength in his hands alone guiding their rhythm, and suddenly rolled her beneath him, enjoying her gasp of delight as he thrust deeper, "ma flamme doux," and as he as he'd learned to do before he'd left her he made love to her endlessly, for hours, because he could. He found he could control himself by thought and inner desire, never ending until he decided it was time, drawing the pleasure out for himself and repeating it over and over for her. When she became wild and desperate for him to finish he'd slow and calm her with soft kisses and quiet words, sometimes even sending her to sleep for a bit before waking her with more demanding caresses and movement. And he learned as well to save the sweet bite for the very end, when she was at her limit and he ready to give himself up completely, because the intensity of it could scarcely be described in so weak a word as 'pleasure'. The rarity of her blood increased tenfold any experience he'd had with any other, vampire or mortal, leaving him deaf and blind to everything but her heartbeat and the red flames behind his eyelids. His lust their first night together in Boston had consumed him so completely he drank far too much from her, frightening himself and weakening her for the entire following day. Rather than give in to his fears and withdraw entirely (which he would have done before), he resolved to be more careful, not to abandon every shred of sense to sensation. His ability to do so surprised them both.
"I was afraid you'd never touch me again," Maura confessed later.
"That I don't think I could manage," Nick promised her with a suggestive smile.
He'd had to return to Toronto after that one week with her, absolutely out of reasons to stay now that the department exchange program was concluded. He hadn't dared to ask for even one more personal day from the captain, whose patience had worn threadbare after his prolonged absence. That last night together they'd spent talking, she of her plans to persuade Janette to dilute her eternal Goth with a bit of old fashioned rock. She was well-armed with copies of Anton's financial reports from Pulse to back her up. Nick was consumed with talk of the freedom LaCroix had promised, that while he would stay in Toronto he would cease his torment of Maura, agreeing instead to accept conditions as they were and style his interactions with Nick accordingly.
"You believe him?" She asked him for the hundredth time that since he'd found her. He'd explained things to her a hundred times as well, but she was having a hard time buying it. "It's not like he hasn't pretended to accept your direction in the past, only to pull that April Fool shit over and over."
"No, this time he's telling the truth. He's convinced that my life right now, and your place in it, is as much a part of me as my past. Maybe more so. So now he's also convinced that by accepting things as they are he isn't losing anything, except the trappings he was looking for. He knows his power over me is finished, and after a hundred years, I think he's just plain tired of the fight. He figures it's better to be civil than to be at daggers drawn forever. Who knows, he may even get to like you."
"Imagine that," Maura commented drily. "Well I'll settle for his grudging respect."
"You have that already."
She gave a surprised laugh. "You shitting me? He respects me?"
"Grudgingly. LaCroix' major weakness, outside of always wanting his way, is his irresistible tendency to respect those who don't fear him."
Maura lay back on the sofa where they sat talking to lean under Nick's arm. "Wow, I guess I'm in rare company."
"Well you might actually be the first."
"Bullshit. He's over 2000 years old, I can't be the first to who was too crazy or stupid to cower in his shadow." In addition to everything else Maura was beginning to appreciate that she was only alive because LaCroix hadn't felt like killing her, not because he was put off by her bad attitude.
This time Nick laughed. "You're the first to have lived to brag about it, that much I know."
She shifted a little to look into his face. "Well it seems he had a mighty incentive to let me live. At least I kept telling him that, and it seemed to work. I found a unique position, with both him and Janette."
Nick shook his head. "Janette's different, Sweet, she's very fond of you. She sees what's special in you, or she'd never have hired you in the first place."
"So it looks like maybe we're all four slaves to being special. I mean LaCroix must have created hundreds, thousands, like himself but he's only hung onto you two. Must be at least related to the same reason you and Janette can't let go of each other, or really walk away from him, and I can't let go of you, or her, blah, blah, blah. Just one big, happy co-dependency."
Nick looked at her in quizzical amusement. "If you say so."
Now she hauled her two bags out of the trunk (Anton was sending the rest of her stuff along) and bounced to the door. Nick hadn't brought her keys to Boston, so she leaned on the bell and shouted, "Surprise, I'm early!" into the intercom. She was supposed to be arriving in another week but couldn't stand to be away from home, and him, any longer. When the elevator door slid open she was delighted to see him waiting inside. Flinging her bags to the floor, she tackled Nick around the neck.
"Hi honey, I'm home," she sang before grafting herself to his face, forcing him to stagger back and reach behind him for the buttons.
He pried his mouth away. "There's something I gotta tell you," but she cut him off with another kiss.
"Shut up. You talk too fucking much, you know that?" she muttered before snaking her tongue around his, hands burrowing inside his vest and tugging at his shirt tail. She intended to have him at least half undressed by the time they got up to the loft, and couldn't understand why he was wrestling her like a nervous virgin.
"Wanna play shy, huh, I like that in a man," and finally he gave in to her and wrapped her up tight in his arms, his kisses becoming more passionate as the elevator ground to a halt and they rolled back to pin each other in the corner.
"Hey let's do it right here, shut this thing off," but as she worked one hand from under his clothes to reach for the switch the elevator door slid open. Unfortunately both Nick and Maura were too preoccupied with consuming each other to notice before a second or two had passed.
"Whoa, somebody switch on the a/c, it's getting hot in here!" Schanke announced. Maura detached and jumped away from Nick as if he'd been electrified.
"Huh?" Maura looked from Schanke to Nick, whose expression was a perfect mix of annoyance and sheepishness.
"Welcome home Maura. Hey, kicky hair."
"I tried to tell you," Nick began, cut off as Schanke interjected, "but I think she had other things on her mind, right Maura?"
Maura picked up her bags and dragged them into the loft. "I didn't know you guys were having a meeting." Then she saw the boxes and suitcases, and shot Nick yet another puzzled look.
"Schank's been visiting for a few days while he and Myra work out some issues."
"The hell we are, I'm through with her! No more whining about 'you don't consider my feelings', no more complaints I don't pay attention. Nick and I have been batching it up."
"Batching it up," Maura muttered under her breath, fixing Nick with a questioning stare.
"Well mostly we've been working night and day on a case. Up with the moon, down with the sunrise, you know the routine when we're busy," Nick nattered on.
Maura just shook her head, eyes still on Nick. "So where did you hide the girls, huh?" This was for Schanke's benefit.
"Oh don't worry, your man here was a positive monk, and he's right we've been too busy to party as much as I'd like."
"As much as you'd like," she mused as, strolling to the kitchen, she noticed a case worth of empties of Heineken. "Looks like someone shoehorned in some festivity." She turned to look at the two of them, Schanke looking like a frat boy on spring break and Nick looking like, well, looking like he'd been trapped with a frat boy on spring break.
"Well if anyone could bust out the party boy in Nick, it would be you." Her voice was dry enough to crumble jello, but Schanke didn't seem to notice. "Now if you two 'batches' don't mind, I am beat. It has been a long day and I just want to unpack and go to bed. Don't let me keep you from your 'guy stuff'." Nick was half a step behind her as she turned to go upstairs.
"Oh that's okay, you two, don't mind ME," Schanke leered, "I'll just put on the stereo headphones and mind my own business."
Maura rolled her eyes at him as she passed, lugging the bags that Nick hadn't the presence of mind to pick up. "How did Myra ever let you go?" She got upstairs as fast as she could manage, leaving Nick behind to glare at Schanke.
"Schanke," he began, but gave up and followed after Maura with a disgusted look.
"I won't disturb you," Schanke sang after Nick, stopping him in his tracks.
"Not. Another. Word." His voice was ice. He didn't bother to wait for the reaction but stopped outside the closed door to the bedroom. Feeling absurd, he tapped it lightly and went in. Before he could speak or even take a step toward her, Maura whirled on him in a fury born of sleep deprivation and surprise.
"Just what the fuck is going on here? Do we have a roommate now? Your clueless partner leaves his wife, which by the way I don't believe for a minute Myra didn't throw his sorry ass out, and you ask him to move in just like that? You couldn't call me in Boston to warn me?" Her attempt at a stage whisper made her sound like a hissing viper, and her puffy eyes enhanced the image.
Nick gestured lamely. "I thought he'd be gone by the time you were supposed to get back, I thought he'd be gone by NOW. And I didn't 'invite' him, he just showed up at four in the morning three days ago, with nowhere to go." His role as victim-of-circumstance managed to piss her off more.
"I can think of a few places," she grumbled as she turned to put more clothes away, then whipped around again. "So he just 'showed up' and you let him stay? Not for one night, not for two nights, but for who knows how long?" She threw up her hands in exasperation. "Holy fucking mother of hell, I've hooked up with the only vampire in existence who has limitless powers but no balls!"
"You found 'em just fine a few minutes ago," Nick reminded her with a tight smirk. His patience, worn paper-thin, was at the tearing point. He followed Maura step for step as she slapped her folded things into drawers and flung them onto hangers. "You think this has been a picnic for me? Do you know how he starts his day? Talking, talking, TALKING. And more talking. And he cooks constantly, and suggests rearranging the furniture, and..." he sputtered to a stop, then continued, "'Roommate'? He's more like a deranged housewife, and complains if I don't 'appreciate' it." He lowered his voice even more and made an "I am dead serious" face, assuring Maura with grim certainty, "If you hadn't come home tonight he might have been found floating in the harbor by tomorrow, but believe me I would have strangled him not drained him. I don't think I could stomach more bachelor Schanke than I have already." He stopped still in the middle of the room, looking entirely mortal and entirely at the end of his rope. "I wish I could love the irony; I'm the vampire, and Schanke's bleeding me dry."
In spite of her frustration Maura couldn't contain a laugh, though she managed to keep it quiet. Though Nick woke in much better humor than she did, their 'morning' habits were harmoniously non-verbal. They eased into the day in the welcome quiet of each other's company, and sometimes the first complete sentences weren't spoken for an hour or more. "Poor Bats," she shook her head as he shuffled miserably to stand face to face with her.
"In the past three days I missed you more than I did for the past three months. You can thank Schanke for reminding me what I'd be without you."
"Or with him."
Nick shuddered in horror. "Don't even joke about that." Finally he reached his arms around her, kissed her gently. "You're right, Sweet, I should have called to warn you. But we really have been flat-out with this case, some dock worker who may have been pushed off the scaffolding at the waterfront. Other than that all my energy has been focused on not killing my partner." Maura answered him with another lingering kiss, stroking fingers through his hair.
"I'm sorry I was such a bitch. I just had plans, you know, involving you, and me, and the rug in front of the fireplace,"
"And now you want to throw me in, I'll bet."
"Uh-uh. Not until I've had my way with you, at least." Now she hugged closer and laid her face against his neck. "Mmm, we have so much shit to catch up on."
"Such a way with words…"
She couldn't see him smiling, and expected another lecture on foul language. "For a seasoned debaucher you are such a prude."
"I've always found actions more eloquent than words," His hands wandered over her back and hips, down her ass and back up her sides as he tilted his head to catch her mouth again. After a moment or two she backed away.
"Unpack," she insisted as if to remind herself. Nick helped her put the rest of her things away.
"What did you do with all those new things you got?" he wanted to know.
"Anton's sending them on," she assured him. "I'm hoping to be able to wear them at Raven, if I can convince Janette to rock out a little more. Maybe we can start with a Rock at the Raven night or something. I know Derek and the guys would go for it, they get a little tired of all the moody 'dark side' dungeon bunny shit."
"Well even if they didn't, feel free to wear what you like when you're with me..." He'd found her "anti-Goth" outfits of tight blue jeans and deep-cut sparkly shirts and pullovers much to his liking.
"Yeah sure, I'll play dress up for you, if you promise to do that working stiff thing for me. No pun intended."
He raised an eyebrow. "I knew there was a reason I saved that stuff."
She pulled an emerald green silk nightgown from the bottom of the carry on bag she'd dumped in the bathroom. "Be right out," she called to Nick as she slipped it on. It flowed like water off her shoulders to full long sleeves, low cut fitted bodice and bias skirt that swept the floor. God, she looked good in it she had to admit, and swept back into the bedroom where Nick had finished putting her empty bags in the closet. When he turned to her his jaw (and fangs) dropped, and his eyes flashed gold.
"Shit," he growled.
"Mon dieu," she gasped, raising her hands in shock and mimicking the way he often teased her, "he's talking dirty!" She slunk closer, "I like that in the undead..."
"Viability challenged," he corrected as he swept her into his arms and, nose to nose, dipped her nearly to the floor. "You look good enough to bite."
"They didn't have one in flannel," she laughed as she hung on (as if he'd drop her).
"Mrrr, lucky me," he ran his face over her neck, shoulders, and down between her breasts. When he set her on her feet again he could see the circles under her bloodshot eyes.
"Ma pauvre doucette, you're exhausted."
She sighed. "Yeah, totally. All that heat I generated in the lift seems to have gone with the wind. I'm too burnt to burn."
Nick gave her a hug before turning down the bed. "That's okay, Sweet, we have all the time in the world to scorch the sheets. Preferably without a houseguest listening for things to go bump in the night." When she'd climbed into bed Maura was nearly overcome by the familiar sensation of the silk sheets, the sight of Nick dimming the lights and lighting the candle before he went to his dressing room to change. He returned wearing only silk pajama bottoms as Maura regarded him with wide eyes.
"I thought I'd never have this again. I thought you were gone from my life."
He slid in next to her and leaned on an elbow to offer a warm, reassuring smile. She shut her eyes to hear his voice better, and felt light fingers trace her eyelids. "No such luck, mortal. You're stuck with me for good."
Her eyes snapped open and she surrounded him in a rush, pressing her face tightly into his shoulder and holding on hard. His smooth warm skin against her cheek made her want to cry and laugh at the same time. "Promise?"
"Okay then." She released her stranglehold on him. "I'm socompletely fried," she groaned and settled on her side, head resting back on Nick's shoulder. "Wake me up in two weeks." She felt him kiss her head.
"I'll set my watch." As he spooned her back against him he felt strangely brotherly to her, and she understood at that moment the complex connection between him and Janette, sibling and lover and best friend. So very connected, it was impossible to label or define. "I'm glad you came home," he whispered, "I was so afraid you wouldn't."
"I love you, Nick. I never stopped, not for a second, even when I thought I'd left here forever. You must know I don't have a choice, but even if I did I'd still choose here and now and you."
"It's better than I deserve." He was silent for a moment and then she felt his lips burrowing through her hair until they could touch her neck in a gentle kiss. "Welcome home, my best beloved doucette."