Title: Two Minutes
Archive: If you want it, ask please!
Disclaimer: Oh, the wish list I have, if only I owned them. Alas, it will have to remain a wish list…at least until I find some way to take over the writing room…
Spoilers: nothing I can think of at the moment
A/N: Don't quite know where this idea came from actually, but I decided to run with it anyways.
It was the second time that Sara had called in sick in as many weeks. Nick had reluctantly left her lying on the couch before shift, casting worried glances at her before he finally pushed himself out the door.
"I'm okay, I just pulled too many doubles with the Ryan case, and it's catching up with me," she insisted weakly, trying to reassure him.
That didn't deter Nick from worrying. "Not that I'm not happy you're finally taking care of yourself, but they've never bothered you before like this..." Sara tried to hold a glare, but she ended up smiling instead. He smoothed back a stray piece of hair from her face, brushing against her forehead; she didn't appear to have a fever from what he could tell.
Sara shrugged, or at least did her best imitation from her spot curled up on the couch. "Yeah, well I never got much sleep before…" She smiled up at him again. "I sleep better when I'm with you, and I guess I've just gotten used to getting a full night's sleep." She yawned widely, swatting at his thigh. "Now go to work, I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow…"
Nick still wasn't quite convinced; sleep deprivation had never kept her from the lab before, let alone twice in two weeks, but he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
His shift passed rather uneventfully, giving him time to mull over exactly what could be going on. He had scared himself into several life changing scenarios, but one kept taking the forefront more than the others. In fact, as soon as it sprung to mind, Nick wondered how he could have been so stupid not to suspect it first.
"Hey man, how's Sara feeling?" Warrick interrupted Nick's stream of thoughts as he opened his locker at the end of shift.
"She's still not feeling too great." Nick rubbed the back of his neck in frustration. Sara had been wiped out for the past month, spending most of her time away from work either curled up on the couch or lying in bed.
"Even Grissom is worried…she's not one to call in." Warrick dropped down onto the bench next to Nick.
"Yeah, I know Rick." Warrick wasn't saying anything Nick didn't already know, and he wasn't exactly helping either.
"Nick, she's not…I mean, you guys would tell us if you were…"
Nick sighed. Warrick didn't have to finish his sentence to tell Nick what he was thinking. "Rick, man, I just don't know. I mean, she's on birth control, but I guess that doesn't always mean anything. She'd tell me if she took a test or something like that, and she hasn't said anything…"
"Don't you think she should?" Warrick clapped Nick on the shoulder and then headed for the door, leaving Nick alone with his thoughts.
They were the same thoughts that led Nick to an all night drug store, standing in front of a dozen different brands of pregnancy tests. He knew that with stuff like this, brand name was important; once Sara had needed him to make an emergency stop for tampons, and he'd made the mistake of bringing home an off brand that had been on sale. She was not pleased. Yeah, there were some things in life you should splurge on, and Nick figured that the stick that would tell them whether they were about to become parents or not was one of them.
A half hour later, he was quietly opening the door to his house, their house since Sara had moved in with him five months ago. He set the bag containing two home pregnancy kits down on the table near the door, careful to be quiet in case Sara had fallen asleep on the couch. He found the living room empty, and so he kicked off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket before heading back towards their bedroom.
Sara was curled up under the comforter on her side of the bed, appearing to be asleep. Nick wouldn't wake her up if she was sleeping, and stripped down to his boxers and a tee shirt before crawling into bed next to her. As the comforter settled over their bodies, Nick spooned behind her, draping his arm over her waist and subconsciously splaying his hand out against her abdomen.
It wasn't that Nick was opposed to the idea of becoming a father, and it wasn't that he hadn't thought about the possibility of having children with Sara; he loved her more than he ever thought possible, and coming from such a large family, Nick had wanted several children of his own. Nick just hadn't expected children to enter the picture quite so early in their relationship. He and Sara had been dating for nine months, and living together for five. For the past two months, a small black jewelry box had been in the safe care of Warrick, until Nick found the right time. Still, Nick wasn't quite sure they were ready for kids
As Sara shifted in his arms, Nick realized he was getting a little ahead of himself. They didn't even know if she was pregnant.
Her hand came to rest over his on her abdomen, her fingers sliding between his as she sighed sleepily.
Nick's voice was soft. "How're you feelin?" He buried his head in her shoulder, inhaling the smell of her shampoo, and the lingering of his own aftershave on the sweatshirt she had filched from his pile of clothes.
Her thumb caressed his knuckles. "I have thought about it, you know, especially the past couple days…" She was so quiet, Nick almost didn't hear her.
"I'm that obvious, huh?" Nick found himself smiling a little, even with the seriousness of the situation. Even after the years of close friendship he and Sara had shared before they became romantically involved, Nick was still amazed by the way Sara could read his thoughts.
Sara turned around in his arms to face him, her eyes wide. "I just don't know Nick…I'm tired all the time, but that could just be all that overtime catching up with me finally… and with all those doubles and triples I was pulling, maybe I did forget to take it a day or two, I honestly don't remember…I've been gaining weight, but that might be because unlike me, you actually keep food in the house." Nick couldn't quite suppress his grin; he definitely appreciated Sara's newfound curves, but then his brow furrowed as he wondered how he hadn't connected everything sooner. "I guess I've been too scared to find out." She sighed. "But I made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow afternoon."
"Can you wait that long?" Nick asked, snaking his arms around her back and pulling her closer to him, so that her head was resting against his chest. He rubbed circles across the small of her back with his thumb. Truthfully, he wasn't sure he could wait another day and a half to find out.
Sara yawned, before snuggling closer into his embrace. "Well, unless you want to drag yourself out of bed and go buy a pregnancy test, it'll have to at least wait until we get up."
"What if I told you I stopped and bought two on the way home from work?"
Sara lifted her head to look at him with hopeful, but slightly anxious eyes. "Grab the kitchen timer and meet me in the living room?"
Three minutes later, Nick was sitting nervously on the couch, clutching the kitchen timer from their stove in his hands.
"Two minutes!" Sara yelled, and Nick dutifully set the digital timer for two minutes. Sara padded down the hallway from the bathroom, dropping down onto the couch next to him, laying her head in his lap.
"How'd it go?" Nick asked nervously.
Before the words finished leaving his mouth, he could feel Sara rolling her eyes. "I peed on the stick just fine, thank you." Nick couldn't help but catch the edge in her voice.
Nick stroked the top of her head to distract himself, trying desperately not to stare at the timer, which he had placed on the coffee table in front of them.
"Nick?" Sara called quietly, bringing her hand up to grasp his knee.
"If it turns out, I mean, if I am…is that okay?"
"Huh? Sweetheart, if you are, there's really nothing we can do about it." Nick's mind was too busy running on overload to consider that what he was saying probably wasn't helping the situation. Sara visibly stiffened as she quickly removed her hand from his knee. "Honey, no, I didn't mean it like that. I'm just nervous, and I don't know what you mean."
Sara relaxed slightly and let Nick grasp one of her hands, entwining their fingers and giving her hand a squeeze. "It's just…we haven't talked about what happens after this," she explained, gesturing between the two of them, "We haven't even been together for a year, we've only been living together for a couple months, and to add a baby…it'll complicate everything...besides," she chuckled nervously, "you always seemed like the old fashioned type…the baby is supposed to come after you settle down…"
Sara's unspoken worry was evident. Nick took a deep breath before answering. He wasn't sure he wasn't going to freak her out a little, but hell, they were both already on edge; he might as well tell her the truth. And, she had brought it up. "Sara, I love you. I want to marry you, have kids with you." He gave her a moment for it to sink in before he continued. "And if the baby happens to come first, yeah, it'll complicate things, but babies complicate things no matter when they come. It doesn't mean that it's a bad thing."
Sara shifted, turning her head to look in his eyes. Hers were wide and glassy as she searched his briefly, looking for confirmation that he was sincere. She took a deep breath. "You know, I never really wanted kids, couldn't ever really see myself as a mother…"
Nick could feel a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. "Well, we don't even know if you're pregnant yet, we're getting a little ahead of ourselves…" His voice was shaky, and he could feel tears forming behind his eyes. He blinked several times, desperately trying to contain them. He had never considered the possibility that Sara didn't want children. At best, this was going to complicate matters; at worst, Nick wasn't sure what kind of situation they would find themselves in.
Sara squeezed his hand, trying to get his attention back. "Nick, let me finish, okay? You know I didn't have the best childhood. I was messed up for a long time, and I never wanted to bring a child into that kind of situation, like how I grew up." She tried to keep her voice matter of fact, but Nick could tell she was battling with every word. "And honestly, I never thought that I would find someone that I trusted enough to have a child with." She paused for a moment, her thumb aimlessly tracing his knuckles. Nick could feel himself relax as he realized that Sara wasn't saying what he originally thought she was, and he continued to stroke her hair, urging her to continue.
"And then I met you, Nick. And I love you so much, I trust you more than I've ever been able to trust anyone else, and whether I'm pregnant or not, I want you to know that. I do want kids, I want us to have kids. But I'm still scared Nick…I'm really scared." By the time Sara was through, she was grasping onto Nick's hand for dear life. A single tear escaped her blinking eyes, rolling off of her face and soaking through the thin fabric of Nick's boxers.
Nick had learned early on that even though Sara was sometimes impulsive when it came to giving her heart away, her trust was a much rarer commodity. Nick considered himself lucky to have earned her trust when they were still just friends; now he was in awe, wondering what he had done to deserve her.
When he opened his mouth to speak, his words were interrupted by the loud beeps emanating from the kitchen timer.
It was show time.
"Are you ready?"
Sara bit her lip and nodded. She disentangled herself from Nick's lap, unsuccessfully suppressing a tiny smile when Nick wouldn't let go of her hand. They pulled themselves up off of the couch and headed to the bathroom, hand in hand. Images of the different ways in which their lives could be changing assaulted Nick's mind. A baby would certainly change their lives in ways Nick couldn't even imagine at the moment; he'd seen it happen to each of his siblings.
At the doorway, Nick hesitated for a moment. There was something he wanted Sara to know. "Hey," he called softly, pulling her back towards him, "whatever it says, I love you."
Sara leaned her head against his chest. "I love you too." She lifted her head and planted a chaste, but meaningful kiss on his lips, before taking a deep breath and stepping over to the sink. She picked up the test, and Nick watched her face fall in the reflection of the mirror, a flicker of disappointment in her eyes. Nick wasn't sure which result had garnered that reaction, until she turned to him with a weak smile. "No need to start clearing out the guest room I guess…"
Even as Nick felt disappointment wash over him, he could see right through Sara's brave front.
"Nick, no. I can't…just give me a couple minutes?" There was a hitch in her voice, but Nick knew better than to stop her as she pushed past him and hurried towards their room, shutting the door once she was inside. If he went after her before she was ready, she'd never open up to him.
With a sigh, Nick ran a hand over his face and stepped into the bathroom. Glancing at the pregnancy test and focusing on the not pregnant clearly displayed, Nick sighed again; it was almost like the test was taunting him, and he quickly threw it in the trash, followed by the crumpled up box. He was in the kitchen, replacing the timer, when he realized that it was probably a good idea to get rid of the trash in the bathroom; he knew the last thing Sara needed to see was the crumpled up box sitting on top of the waste basket when she got up next to use the bathroom.
Nick closed the back door upon his return several minutes later, noticing that the door to their bedroom was slightly ajar now. He padded softly back to their room, finding her again curled up on her side the bed. Nick crawled in after her, determined to give her a little time. The moment he heard the sniffles from her side though, his resolve failed him.
"Sara, sweetheart, its okay," he murmured, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her into his embrace. This was all it took for Sara to begin to sob, turning over so that her head was buried in Nick's chest. He rubbed her back, making soothing noises until her sobs gradually dissipated into intermittent sniffles.
Nick felt lost. The entire day had been an emotional rollercoaster ride, and while Nick felt disappointed himself, he supposed that his Y-chromosome precluded him from understanding exactly how Sara felt about this turn of events. But it killed him to see Sara so upset, and know that he couldn't do anything to fix it. And Nick wasn't sure where they were going to go from here. They hadn't made it far enough into their conversation for Nick to find out if Sara meant that she wanted children in the abstract, someday type of way, or if she was thinking of something more concrete. And he knew that if he said anything to her while she was this upset, it would just make the situation worse, and possibly make her shut him out completely.
And on top of everything else, they still had no idea why she was feeling so run down.
Nick wasn't sure how long they lay there, him rubbing her back while she quietly sniffled into his now wet tee shirt. "I didn't realize how much I wanted to be…until I found out I wasn't." Sara's confession was small and wistful as she toyed with the hem of his shirt. Nick pulled her closer, sliding his hand up her back and playing with the ends of her curls. "I mean, I had a couple days to think about it, and I think I just convinced myself that it was the most logical reason for me feeling the way I do. I was scared, but for the first time in my life, I could really see it, Nick. The car seat in the back of the Denali, waking you up for midnight feedings, toys all over the living room, someone cuddling between us in the middle of the night …"
Nick heard the tiniest smile in her voice before she sighed. He was pretty sure that Sara was saying what he thought she was, but he wanted to be absolutely sure before he let himself get excited. "Are we talking about this as something you want someday, like future someday, or did you have a more specific timeline in mind?" Nick subconsciously held his breath while he waited for her answer.
Sara's hand was rubbing small circles over one of the dry spots on his shirt. "What if I said I wanted to have a baby with you, now?" Sara looked up at him with red rimmed eyes, a tentative smile on her face.
Finding his voice failing him at the moment, Nick cupped her cheek and leaned down to capture her lips. At first the kiss was soft and gentle, conveying his complete adoration for her, but soon he was deepening the kiss and rolling Sara onto her back. His hand was at the edge of her sweatshirt, slowly creeping up the warm skin on her back, when he finally had to pull away for air.
Sara was gazing back at him, cheeks slightly flushed and eyes shining with tears. But they were happy tears, accompanying the soft smile on her face. Nick had never seen anything more beautiful, and he couldn't help but marvel at her as he leaned in for another kiss.
"Baby, as much as I enjoy, um, practicing with you, I didn't mean we should try this right this second. I'm just too tired." Sara smiled apologetically as Nick rolled onto his back, pulling Sara flush with him and dropping a kiss on her head. His brow furrowed as he remembered the reason they had thought Sara was pregnant in the first place.
His voice was tentative, hoping not to discourage Sara now that she had finally decided that she wanted kids, but knowing that they needed to wait a little while at least. "Sweetheart, we should probably wait until we find out why you're feeling so run down before we try this though…"
"That was the general idea," Sara replied, yawning as she swatted at his abdomen. "I'll talk to Dr. Meddling about it when I go in tomorrow."
They were quiet for a few minutes, as the reality of what they had agreed to started to set in. Sara was the one to quietly voice the concern on both their minds. "Is it too soon for us to be doing this?"
Maybe it was, Nick wasn't really sure, but as he looked into Sara's eyes, he realized two truths; he was absolutely in love with the woman lying next to him, and life was just too damn short to not take the risk. Nick had vowed to embrace life every day since he had been rescued, and that attitude had helped him garner the courage it had taken to finally pursue a relationship with Sara. And considering how well that had turned out, Nick was willing to take the risk if Sara was.
"I think it's just soon enough." Nick kissed the top of her head and couldn't help but smile as her head settled into the crook of his shoulder.
Sara curled up next to him, her fingers softly trailing across his chest until she finally fell asleep. He himself was too keyed up to fall asleep right away, choosing instead to listen to her deep and even breathing and imagine what life was going to be like with a baby in their lives.
"Hey man, is Sara feeling any better?" Warrick asked as Nick strode towards his locker at the end of shift.
Nick answered as he opened his locker, depositing his gear so that he could head home. Sara and Catherine had had the night off together, and Sara had called him while they were out shopping for dresses for Greg's surprise birthday party later that week. After listening to Nick complain about the dead end his case had hit, Sara had hinted that she had bought something at Victoria's Secret that just might brighten his day. Nick couldn't wait to get home and leave the lab behind for the day.
"Oh yeah, she's starting to feel a lot better. She went to the doctor a couple weeks ago, and the doctor said she was just worn out, that she should start taking some vitamins, eat better, that kind of stuff. Oh, and she told her not to work so much overtime."
"Well, I guess you've got your work cut out for you, trying to keep Sara out of the lab," Warrick commented, buttoning up a clean shirt that wasn't covered in ballistics gel.
A smile tugged at the corners of Nick's mouth as he shrugged his jacket on. "Nah, I don't think it'll be too bad." Sara and Nick had had several long, serious conversations since they had decided that they wanted to try for a child together, and one of the many agreements they had come to was that their family was going to come first, and that meant making some major lifestyle adjustments, including cutting down the amount of time they spent working, Sara especially.
Warrick continued on, missing Nick's wandering attention as he thought about Sara at home waiting for him. "So she's not pregnant then?"
Nick was brought back into the conversation as the word pregnant ran in his ear. He tried to hide his grin by pretending to search for something on the top shelf of his locker. "No man, not yet."
"Well it's good that she's feeling…wait a second, what do you mean not yet? You two trying to have a baby?"
Nick turned around, the grin still stuck to his face. "Yeah, actually we are. As soon as she's feeling ready for it at least."
Shock registered on Warrick's face. "You sure you two are ready for a kid? I mean, I know you're planning on marrying her…but this is serious…"
"Don't worry Rick. Life's too short, you know? I love her, she loves me, we want a family. She's the one that brought it up, you know…"
Warrick was quickly going into big brother mode, and while Nick usually appreciated the fact that someone else was looking out for Sara, it bothered him that Warrick tended to think the worst whenever he and Sara made a big decision regarding their life together, especially considering his spur of the moment marriage to Tina. "I know you two love each other man, but a baby is a big step, and you two aren't even engaged, let alone married…you need to do this right. She deserves that." Warrick's voice was as stern as his glare, and Nick fought the urge to snap back. He knew that Warrick's reaction was only because he cared about both of them, but he still had to pause for a minute to get his feelings under control.
"We've talked about it, and this is what we want. Sara doesn't want a big wedding, and it'll be at least another month before we start trying for the whole family thing. She swears that all she wants is a small, quiet wedding at one of the chapels off of the Strip." Nick tried to inject some humor into the conversation. "Come on Rick, I'm not gonna knock her up and take off. You know me better than that. In fact, I need to stop by and pick something up from your place before next Friday…"
Warrick's glare softened, but he still seemed a little skeptical. "So you've talked about having a baby, you've talked about what kind of wedding she wants…why the hell haven't you proposed yet?"
Nick smiled sheepishly. "I want it to be special for her. She deserves that." Warrick nodded and offered a smile as Nick tossed his own words back at him. "I made reservations out on Callville Bay, and there's this nice spot on the marina." Nick shrugged, somewhat embarrassed that he was telling Warrick what he was planning. "It's where we had our first date…I thought she might like that."
A look of understanding passed between the two men. Warrick pulled his jacket out of his locker and shrugged it on. "I'll bring the ring with me tomorrow, man. You just let me know when and where you need me for the big day." He smirked and strolled out the door towards home and his waiting wife.
Sara had seated herself on the edge of the bathroom counter, swinging her legs back and forth as Nick brushed his teeth.
As he turned off the faucet and wiped his mouth one more time, Nick couldn't help but chuckle. Sara's attention was riveted to her left hand, as it had been on many occasions in the past several weeks, specifically to the simple, but elegant diamond engagement ring on her finger.
"You know, if I was a less secure man, I'd be bothered by the fact that you seem to love that ring more than me…"
"Good thing you've got a healthy ego there, Mr. Stokes," she barbed back. Sara shook her head after staring for another minute and smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry I wasn't here when your mom called. How did she take it?"
Nick shrugged. "I think the prospect of another grandchild, from the son that they thought would never settle down, softened the blow that she won't be throwing a Texas high society wedding for her youngest. I told you she would start on that the minute the news sunk in. Surprised it took this long though."
"So you told her about that?"
"Hey, I needed some kind of bargaining position here. I love my mother, but had I not mentioned that we planned on trying for kids as soon as we got married, we'd be having a huge, no frills spared wedding down in Dallas sometime next year. But as soon as I said the word baby, she couldn't wait to book airline tickets for her and Cisco."
Sara raised an eyebrow as Nick leaned against the counter next to her. "So you used our yet to be conceived child as a bargaining chip with your mother? And you lied to her too, because we're not exactly waiting until we're married…"
Nick grinned and waved off her protests. "Hey, what she doesn't know…besides, it's not like two weeks is going to make all that much of a difference in the long run. Unless of course, you want to wait?" Nick raised his own eyebrows to her; he knew that she didn't want to wait anymore than he did.
Sara's grinned matched his as she shook her head. "Nope, I don't want to wait. I'm feeling much better, and according to Dr. Meddling, now is probably a good time to stop taking these." Sara reached behind herself on the counter, picking up her pack of birth control. She waved it once in the air, and then deposited it into the trashcan next to the sink. There was a satisfying thud as the pack landed inside an empty Kleenex box.
Sara hopped off the counter and grabbed Nick's hand. "What do you say we get to work, Cowboy?"
"You know, for some stupid reason, I thought this would be less nerve wracking the second time around," Sara huffed, glancing at the timer every few seconds.
"Come on, there's only another…thirty three, thirty two seconds left," Nick pointed out through his own nerves. Sara glared at him from her spot, sitting on the closed toilet seat as he perched on the edge of the bathtub. "Hey, this has been the longest two minutes of my life too…"
"I know…I'm just nervous," Sara admitted quietly.
Nick reached for her hand as the timer erupted. Here we go, take two, he thought to himself. "Sweetheart, just remember we've only been trying for two months. If you're not this time, it doesn't mean…"
"Nick, shut up…"
"Sara, I'm serious…" Nick wanted her to be, but he knew he would have to be the one to inject some reality into the situation; what was the likelihood that Sara would get pregnant within weeks of them beginning to try?
Apparently it was better than he thought, because when he looked up, Sara was holding the test and beaming back at him. "Baby, I love you, but shut up. Looks like we're gonna have to start moving all of the wedding gifts out of the spare bedroom after all…"
Nick grinned back at her. Life was definitely looking pretty good.
A/N: So I've been working on this one for awhile, it's just a random thought that popped into my head and wouldn't leave, but then I got stuck somewhere around page 6. Then I went to go see Rent Wednesday night (amazing show, btw!), and when I got home I was inspired to finish this…and then things took a turn somewhere, and five pages later, this is where I ended up. It's different then what I usually write, and I kind of like the little cutaways at the end, better than having made them into full fledged chapters, but I'm eager to see what you guys think. Thanks for reading!