Diclaimer: I do not own Nash and/or Caitlin :(
AN: another NB fic, unbeta-ed, all mistaked are MINE. irgnore them or don't read the fic whatever you prefer ;)
Summary: Caitlin has been worried for days, where is her son? What will happen when he is found?
Lost And Found
"How can it be, that a person who let a five year old only enter a coach from DC to San Francisco without his mother, is still allowed to drive yet another coach? I mean, who knows how many children are on that one?" She was screaming hysterically, that was not her usual self, but how else was she supposed to react? The officer had just told her that a coach driver had remembered that Daniel had been on his coach a couple of days ago, but they wouldn't be able to talk with him until he returned from another tour.
He was missing for a week now, for days there had been amber alerts airing on the local television channels and radio stations, and finally someone had remembered him. It was just that those news were frightening her even more. She knew what Daniel wanted to do in San Francisco, but what if he would get lost? He didn't know the city; he wouldn't be able to find his way…
She needed to call Nash. She had avoided that the whole last week. But now she had to. The officers had asked her over and over again if it might be possible that his father could have abducted him but she had told them that Daniel's father didn't even know he existed. And that was the problem, Nash didn't know about his son and telling him over the phone that this son ran away from home had been something she really had hoped to be able to avoid.
He came home from work earlier than usual, it might have been because of the headache that had terrorized him all day or just because he tried to run away from the paper work that was awaiting him in his office. He was just glad to be home when the doors of the elevator opened and he entered his apartment.
Someone had left the TV running, he shook his head, Nick started to get more and more forgetful. Then his gaze traveled to the sofa and he couldn't believe what he saw. A little boy was snuggled into the cushions and was sleeping peacefully while Tom and Jerry were having one of their infamous fights in the background.
He didn't know what to do, should he wake up the boy and ask him what he was doing there or should he let him sleep and ask him when he woke up? But what if the boy's parents were already searching for him? He needed to find out his name and where he came from…
With shaking hands she opened her cell phone and dialed his number. How in the world was she supposed to explain this to him? How do you tell a man that you never mentioned to him that you were pregnant while you were still living with him and that you were too afraid to tell him about it after you two broke up? How do you tell him that his son ran away from you because you made the stupid mistake to loose control over yourself? Feeling burned out is no excuse, she shouldn't have yelled at him when he hadn't switched off his game boy after the first time she had told him to switch it off. She shouldn't have told him to get out of her sight after he had started to complain… she had done everything wrong, everything.
She waited for Nash to answer and it felt like an eternity until she finally heard his voice on the other end of the line.
"Hey," she whispered, feeling as if she wasn't able to speak louder than that. "It's Caitlin," She added after a moment, realizing only now that by no chance he was able to have a clue about who was calling him.
"Caitlin?" He asked unbelieving. "What…"
Suddenly it hit him like a bolt. The little boy on his sofa and then a call from Caitlin, all of a sudden, she hadn't called him ever since she had left San Francisco little longer than five years ago. This could only be… but how in the world was that possible? Why would she have felt the need to hide something like that from him? Why shouldn't she have mentioned it to him? She could have told him…
"Listen Nash I… I know that sounds stupid and… I… I don't know where to start…" She stammered into the phone.
"Caitlin, I will take a wild guess," He told her softly, if what he suspected was true he knew if must feel like hell on earth for her to call him. "The little boy sleeping on my sofa is your son?"
He could hear her gasp, and then she swallowed hard. "He… oh my god, he… he found you?" He didn't know how to interpret the sound of her voice, was she relieved or was she panicking even more?
"I just came home from work a minute before you called me. I found him sleeping on my sofa, he must have watched cartoons for a while…"
At least he was safe now. She could be sure of one thing, Nash would take care of him. You could say about Nash whatever you want, but he cared a lot about children. She felt tears of relieve running down her cheeks, she made no effort to wipe them away. "I… I will try to catch the next flight to San Francisco, I'll pick him up, tell him I'll be there as soon as possible, no tell him I love him first because I don't want him to run away again, I…. Nash don't let him run away again…"
"Caitlin, calm down." He told her softly. "I will take care of him until you're here." He reassured her. "Just, do you have any idea what he might be doing here?"
She felt a huge knot in her throat. Where was she supposed to start? "Can… can we talk about that when I'm there?" Until she was there she knew Daniel might already have told Nash everything, but she had to look him in the eyes when she told him the truth about her reasons for leaving San Francisco.
Nash sensed what she would tell him, he wouldn't push her; he could easily tell that she had a lot of other problems at the moment. He told her to calm down and that she didn't need to worry about anything. He promised her that he'd take good care of Daniel until she would arrive and she had then tried to get the earliest flight as possible. She would be there in ten hours, so he needed to make a plan about how to kill the time until then.
The little boy was obviously exhausted, he might continue sleeping for a couple of hours. But he wanted to be awake when Daniel would wake up so he had to find something to do.
He decided that he should prepare some food he hadn't eaten all day. While he was preparing his dinner his mind got carried away, he wondered how Caitlin could ever manage to hide her pregnancy from him. The little boy could only be his son, what else would be his reason to search for him? He was about five years old which would mean that Caitlin must have been between four and six months pregnant when she had left San Francisco.
And, if he was really the father, why did she never tell him? Maybe she had discovered her pregnancy after they had broken up and she hadn't wanted him to come back to her because of her being pregnant… Or maybe she had been scared of telling him because he might think that it was only a lame attempt to win him back?
She arrived at his apartment exactly ten hours after she had ended their conversation. She rushed into the living room to find Daniel still asleep, wrapped into a blanket, his head resting on the armrest of the sofa. Tears shot into her eyes as soon as she saw him, she fell down on her knees in front of the sofa, sobbing relentlessly when she leaned over him and laid her head on his chest.
Then she felt a warm hand on her shoulder and looked up slowly. Nash smiled softly at her and she did her best to return his smile. She got up on her feet again and wiped the tears away from her cheeks with the back of her hand. "Hi." She said almost inaudible.
"Hi." He replied and dragged her into his arms to comfort her. Even though she was crying from relieve he knew she needed someone to hold her now.
It took her a long time until she had calmed down. Only then she pulled away from him to give him a reassuring smile. She was ready for his questions now. She had her son back, she finally knew he was really okay, so there was nothing she wasn't able to face.
"Why?" He asked softly and at first she shrugged.
But then she found the right words and hoped that he would understand her. "When I found out that I was pregnant we were about to break up. You remember when that waitress who was actually a hit man kicked me into the stomach? Well I went to a doctor to get a check up because I was a bit worried and then he told me that everything would be fine with the baby and me. It hit me like a bolt, I mean… I had no idea what to do… I didn't want to tell you about it because I know you wouldn't have let me leave if you'd have known that I was pregnant with your child. But there was no way for us to live on together like that. I wanted a family with you and you didn't want anything more with me than what we had. And a pregnancy would have pushed you into something that you never wanted. I know I should have told you at some point, maybe after a couple of weeks… but then you got together with that woman, I don't remember her name but that doesn't matter anyways, so I… I guess it were the hormones but I didn't think I could stand seeing you any longer, seeing how you were happy with another woman. So I left. And I always lacked the courage to tell you about it. I wrote you a letter but I… I never managed to send it to you. I just… couldn't do it. Not because I was afraid of your reaction, but because I felt so ashamed of myself. I should have told you. And… if something would have happened to Daniel this week then it would have been my entire fault and I don't know how I should ever have been able to forgive myself then… I should have told you and I should have told him… I didn't even know that he knew about you. I…" She paused and sighed. "We had a fight, I said things that I shouldn't have said. I expected too much from him simply because he is smarter than most kids his age… I… you must think I'm a horrible mother."
Nash had listened to her without interrupting and that had been a difficult thing to do. He wished he could have told her that there was no reason for her to blame herself for anything, but he had known that she needed to finish her speech because she would only be able to say this once. "Caitlin, I am sure that you are a good mother, a boy who makes it from DC to San Francisco without anyone's help has to be a damned clever little guy… Maybe you made a mistake with never telling me about him but we can't change that anymore. And I don't know what you said to him during that fight but it obviously must have been something that made him want to find his father. I…"
She swallowed hard. "I told him to get out of my sight, he told me I shouldn't shout at him just because I was stressed out… I told him that I wouldn't be so stressed out if I wouldn't have to do two jobs so that we could afford food and clothes and our apartment. He said if his father would be there then everything would be easier and I said that his father would never be there and that he'd have to accept that. And I told him that for my and his own sake I needed my rest so he should just go to his room and leave me alone… Nash I'm a horrible mother. I… I told my son to leave me alone and I… I made him run away." She started crying again.
Nash was about to wrap his arms around her when they were disrupted by the little boy's voice behind them. "Mommy?"
Caitlin turned to Daniel, crying harder now. "Danny." She hurried over to him and twined her arms around him. "Oh god, you scared me so much. I'm so glad I you're okay."
"I missed you Mom." Daniel said softly.
"I missed you, too." She planted several kisses on the boy's forehead and tightened her embrace around him.
Nash smiled and sat down on the sofa next to them. After a while Daniel turned to him, a shy smile on his lips. Nash smiled back at him and tilted his head. "Hey there, I guess you must be a very courageous little boy to travel such a long way."
Now Daniel grinned. "It wasn't that scary. I was on the coach most of the time." He shrugged.
Caitlin tousled his hair and smiled. "You scared the hell out of me."
"I won't do that again. I promise." He leaned into his mother's embrace.
They kept on sitting there on the sofa for a long time until Daniel fell asleep in Caitlin's arms again. At some point the uncomfortable silence between Caitlin and Nash eased and when she fell asleep in his arms, feeling that she was able to rest for the first time in days, she knew that a lot of things would change, there was no way to deny anything that had happened in the last hours, but things could only get better.