By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Victor and Nico are two of my favorite characters in the series so the idea of them possibly being together makes me giddy. R/R if you like it.

He's surprised to hear the knock on his door. He's even more surprised when he opens it. He can tell she's been crying. He wonders for a moment why he hasn't been. Perhaps it wasn't part of his programming. Yet, he did cry when his mother died. Maybe this latest loss has struck him so hard that there are no tears. He doesn't know. What he does know is that she's standing at his door in a tank-top and shorts when it's past midnight. Her eyeliner's runny from the tears and she's giving him a look like she's a lost puppy who's been kicked too often and can't really figure out what to do to stop the pain.

"C'mon," says Victor Mancha as he takes the hand of Nico Minoru and leads her into his room, "We'll talk about it." She moves with him into the room and sits with him on his bed. The actions are unconscious because she feels like she's moving in some sort of hazy dream. Maybe she's been dreaming all along, sleepwalking through this whole ordeal. She wants that to be true. She wants to wake herself up from this fog of numbness. She wants Gert back because Gert was always better at being rational about things than she was. Now Gert's gone though and so is Chase. She might also be gone too because she's a sleepwalker now, mechanically moving through her life because she's got nothing left to do.

"She's gone," whispers Nico. Victor barely catches the sound at all. He wonders what things were like before him. He wonders if Nico was ever this quiet or this dark. He takes her hand and squeezes it. It's hard for him to feel things sometimes. Most of the time, he didn't notice it but that was before . . . before Ultron. He notices it now sometimes, notices that things don't always taste like they should or that the touch of someone else isn't quite as warm as he thinks it should be. He hates his father for that.

Nico looks at him and Victor sees something in her eyes, something like a switch that's being flipped inside her. It's his last coherent thought before she suddenly kisses him. He can vaguely taste what's left of her lip-gloss and thinks it's blackberry, which is unusual for most girls. He can feel her tongue working inside his mouth and can feel his internal temperature begin to rise.

She knows this is wrong. She knows she's only using him like he's some sort of medication or drug. She has to have this though because she has to wake herself up. She doesn't want to go through the rest of her life with this cold numbness consuming her. It scares her because it feels like she's being swallowed by it. It's wrong. She knows it. She chooses to ignore it though. She has to wake up from the nightmare her life has become. She has to feel alive again. She keeps kissing him, searching and groping for the drug that will get her high again. She's pleased when he returns her advances, their tongues dueling in his mouth while his hands begin roaming up under her top and along the smooth skin of her back. She feels herself shiver at the touch and she longs for more.

He feels like she could swallow him whole. She's certainly kissing him like she can. She kisses him so forcefully and hungrily that for a moment he swears this is a dream. He's certainly fantasized about her before. She has a kind of wild, exotic beauty about her. He lets himself get swept away by the fantasy as he falls on his back with her on top of him. Her skin is smooth as he lets his hands slip up under her top to rub along her back. He feels her shiver with anticipation as she continues the assault.

"Nico," he breathes as she breaks off for a moment. He lets his mind swim up through the hazy waters of lust that are bogging down his sense of reason. This is wrong. He's fantasized about her, about the smooth and graceful curves of her body. He's fantasized about her but they've only been passing fancies. He doesn't want her like this. Gert just died for God's sake.

"Wait," whispers Victor but Nico won't have any of it. She pounces on him again and feels him moan softly into her mouth. Waiting leads to thinking. She doesn't want to think. She doesn't want to think because she's tired of coldness and rationality and numbness. She wants to feel. She wants to feel alive because there's too much death in her life already.

He braces himself as she backs off. Victor sees her hands move to the hem of her top and begin to move upward with it. His mind snaps back into focus and he stares into her eyes. She's scared, so unbelievably scared. He can see her desperately searching for something. He regrets for a second that she can't find it with him.

"Stop it," whispers Victor as he stays Nico's hands. He moves out from under her, his eyes never leaving hers and his hands holding her own. He sees the entire concoction of broiling emotions in her eyes and suddenly everything just spews out of her as she buries her face in his shirt.

"I'm sorry," sobs Nico, "I just . . . I just wanted to feel . . ."

"Alive," whispers Victor as he holds her in his arms, "I know, Nico. I know." He runs his fingers through her hair. She tenses for a moment as a particularly violent sob escapes her throat and then she finally relaxes into his arms.

"What I did was really stupid," admits Nico, "I'm sorry, Victor."

"It's okay," he assures her quietly, "It's okay."

"I just," explains Nico haphazardly, "She's dead and I just . . . I want to run."

"We can't run all the time," says Victor. She doesn't want a sermon. She just wants some comfort and a safe place she can run to so that she can feel warm and happy and alive.

"I miss her already," whispers Nico.

"Me too," agrees Victor, "Stay with me, Nico. Don't run." He says it because he knows how everyone looks to her when things get tough. He also says it because he cares about her and can't let her go.

"That's a pretty lame attempt at saying 'I love you'," says Nico as she dries her eyes. She can't deny that he's good-looking. Maybe in another life things would've been different.

"That's not what I meant," he says.

"I know," she replies, "Thank you, Vic." She likes being in his arms. He likes holding her. Both of them know about numbness, the cold loss of sensation and emotion. She wonders if perhaps she's in love with him. She can't tell yet. He wonders the same. It doesn't matter to either of them. Both of them have woken up from the nightmare at last and now neither of them wants to go back to sleepwalking through life.