This story takes place after my story called "GuiltFree", but it can also be treated as a stand-alone fic. This one may be a bit corny, but I think it's sweet.

Disclaimer: I do not own Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. The case I refer to in this story is one that I made up.

Unspoken Words

This should have been just another case, filled with criminals and adventure, danger and intrigue. At the onset, there was no sign that these criminals would be more cunning or that the dangers would be more life threatening. Although Nancy, Frank, and Joe had faced devious villains before, somehow it seemed like the suspects in this case were more complex. As Nancy lay in bed, she reflected that perhaps the criminals were becoming more sophisticated as she aged.

Before the case began, Nancy, Frank, and Joe had just finished another year of college together. Knowing that they wanted to start a private investigation firm after graduating, the sleuths decided to attend the same university studying different fields to balance each other. Franks long-term interest in science made his chemistry major and computer science minor an easy decision. A year later, Joe surprised everyone by choosing a criminal justice major with the option of attending law school afterwards. Nancy took her time thinking carefully about what she would love to study and would also benefit their trio. Eventually, she decided that a psychology major with a minor in forensic science would best suit her.

And of course, an added benefit of this education was the simple fact that Nancy would finally be living in the same place as Frank. Nancy and Frank's relationship had begun at their first meeting many years ago, continued through mutually denied desires while working cases, and finally culminated with a kiss shared during Frank's high school graduation party.

Of course, no relationship is perfect and disagreements happened from time to time. But everything changed for Nancy when she and Frank became a couple and all of their pieces fell into place together. Her whole definition of 'happiness' was different now, and Nancy couldn't believe that she had ever thought she was happy in her previous relationships.

Frank loved Nancy, and Nancy loved Frank.

Frank accepted all of Nancy: her brilliance, her stubbornness, her drive, her self-sacrificing nature, how she always ran into the fire.

Nancy tried to keep her mind on these thoughts as she pulled the blanket over her shoulders. She coughed for what felt like the hundredth time tonight, because medicine could only do so much. The only thing that could heal damaged airways after pneumonia is time.

Though she tried to push the memories away, visions of how she got pneumonia returned.

This latest case, with its cunning criminals, ended with the bad guys in jail.

But not before Frank and Nancy had been kidnapped…

…and tied up together in a small fishing boat…

…and left alone there as the boat began to sink…

…as the cold water crept up their bodies, numbing their legs…

…by the time screws cut through the rope around their wrists, the water filled the room up to their waists…

As the boat began to tip in her memory, Nancy felt as though the bed she laid on tipped with it.

...Nancy tried to pick the lock on the only door in the room…

…Frank tried to open or break through the small window that was bolted shut…

…the cold water reached their chests when the sky disappeared from the window…

…they tried to knock out the hinges of the door, but rust held them in place…

…even at the tallest point of the room, the water had reached their chins…

…as they treaded water, Nancy thought that maybe she had heard a boat approaching, but she couldn't waste the air screaming for help…

…They didn't need to share declarations of love or whispered goodbyes. Everything between Nancy and Frank had been expressed countless times before through words and glances and cherished touches…

Nancy squeezed her eyes shut, trying to will away the tears, as she remembered their kiss in that flooded boat.

…The panic in Frank's face disappeared as he focused on her. The warmth in his eyes filling her and pushing away their cold surroundings. His fingers touched her hair as he drew her close and their lips touched. The feeling of his tongue moving against hers brought a moan from her, as always…

…But when they separated the dirty water filled her mouth…

…The last thing she remembered before the darkness was Frank's hand gripping hers…

Nancy could taste the water in her mouth now and coughed again involuntarily.

And as she did, an arm curled around her shoulder, pressing her against a familiar warm body. Nancy breathed in Frank's scent and relaxed with this reminder that he was alive, that they both were alive.

They were unconscious when Joe arrived with police officers and EMTs. Their lungs were filled with water as Joe pulled them out of the boat and the EMTS began CPR. Nancy woke up first in the hospital that night and Frank followed the next morning. The resulting pneumonia infection kept them in the hospital for nearly a week. Joe checked them out of this hospital today and brought them to a nearby hotel. And then he claimed he was leaving to get dinner, but unspoken words in the air explained that he knew the couple needed some alone time.

Neither of them had the energy to do more than hold each other close and cuddle. But that was enough after being held in separate hospital beds barely able to talk for days.

Nancy tilted her head and found Frank looking down at her adoringly with a small, sweet smile. She reached up and ran her fingers through his dark hair. He leaned into her touch.

Frank's unusually raspy voice broke their silence, "I didn't think it was possible for me to love you more than I did before, that I could appreciate having you next to me even more."

"And somehow, I do," Nancy finished for him.

The door to the hotel room swung open and Joe walked in carrying several bags of food. "Sorry to interrupt, but the Doc gave me strict instructions to feed you regularly. What do you want to start with?"

Frank raised his eyebrows at Nancy, who shrugged in return. Then, at the same time, they replied, "Soup?"

Joe laughed. "You are way too young to be sounding like an old married couple."

As Joe dished out the soup, Frank grinned, reached for Nancy's left hand, and stroked her left ring finger. His face formed a question filled with hope, promise, and love.

When realization dawned on Nancy, she returned his smile and sealed the decision with a kiss.