A/N: And we've reach the end. Thanks to everyone who's been kind enough to supply the muse with ideas. What a ride it was! From happily ever after (wedding, picket fence house and 2.4 kids included) to die in a car crash on the way to the chapel to have either one of them dump the other or die on the other or something equally disturbing. My muse loves you all!
Xxx XXX xxX
Could I fly around the world if my wings were
And see so clearly drowning in grey smoke?
I've got to stay quiet, but there's so much to say
If I could feel my arms I'd push it all away
I know there is a future and the best is still to come
When all I have are feelings
Why am I always wishing
That a moment was really like an hour?
That every penny that I earn could balance out the dollar?
Something that's spent on patience would make me patron saint
You know I might be ordained today I guess I'll have to wait
Hurry up and wait
break it out. Gonna turn the lights on. See what's there for me
Take a look around with an open shutter
There's a world to see
Dog Eat Dog
Xxx XXX xxX
Nick Stokes lay with his eyes closed, but that didn't hinder him from knowing what was coming. He could recognize her footsteps now, no matter what she was wearing. And she was wearing heels, by the sound of it. The ankle kitten heels boots, actually. He knew better, but he kept his eyes closed until the footsteps had reached his side, hoping that she'd take a hint. She didn't.
"Hello Gorgeous", he drawled, eyes still stubbornly closed.
"Very funny, Barbra. Very funny. Now stop playing possum and open your eyes."
He did as ordered. Experience had shown him that Sofia Curtis was not a woman who was big on patience once she had issued an order. She was, in fact, quite bossy, and Nick couldn't say he didn't like that trait in her. A brief flashback of him cuffed to her bedpost, her wearing thigh high boots, crossed his mind and he smiled at the memory.
"And wipe off that smirk while you're at it, cowboy."
Yep, bossy indeed.
"What the hell were you thinking, Nicky? What part of "suspect is armed and dangerous, proceed with caution" didn't you get?" He tried to answer but she cut him off with a warning look. "You always have to play the hero, don't you? Why do I even bother?"
Sofia raised her hands in defeat, acknowledging that the whole point was moot from start.
"Cause you love me. And you want me. And you think I'm sexy…"
"Careful there Stokes, don't start messing with Mr. Stewart. And I haven't said I love you today…"
"If I recall correctly it was well after midnight last time you said it. Actually, you screamed it… or was that a moan? I don't really remem…"
He was interrupted by her swat to his head. "Ouch! Watch it! I might have a concussion!" he complained, rubbing his forehead.
"I'll give you one if you keep giving me attitude, so don't start getting all cocky on me… and that was NOT a pun, so don't even THINK about going there…"
Before Nick got a chance to open his mouth, the paramedic decided that enough was enough.
"If you two are through with being so utterly, sickeningly and disturbingly in love, I'd like to take Detective Stokes here to the hospital for some X-Rays. Excuse me." And with that, the medic got hold of the stretcher and placed it inside the ambulance.
Sofia got back to her truck and followed suit.
Inside the ambulance, the EMT was doing his routine job swiftly: recording vital stats, hooking up an IV drip… and keeping the patient busy with small talks.
"Your girl is nice" he commented
"She is. Nice, I mean. I wouldn't dare call her mine. Not if I want to live to tell the tale."
The EMT smiled. He had heard that Detective Sofia was tough as nails. What he hadn't known was that there was something going on between these two. There had been rumors, but nobody had been able to confirm anything so far.
"So…" he said conversationally as he inserted a needle on Nick's arm, "Are you planning on making an honest woman out of her?"
The poor man never saw it coming. One minute he was doing his job, the next he was being held down on a death grip around his collar shirt and his patient's face mere inches away from his.
"What… do you mean… by honest?" Nick growled through clenched teeth.
"I am… I am sorry…. Didn't mean any disrespect… just kinda… asking…. If you're marrying her anytime soon…" the EMT gasped out
Nick released him and laid down back in the stretcher, feeling a tad woozy but still annoyed. "None of you goddamn business" he muttered before closing his eyes.
The EMT finished his work in absolute silence, having learned a couple of things. First, he never ever wanted to find himself on the bad side of this Texas bloke. Second, the man had been had, real time, and he had yet to figure it out. And third, he'd better find out, subtly of course, if there was a running pool bet for them… and get at least a 20 on how they'd show up together at the Christmas Ball. That ought to give him enough cash to have a merry holiday himself.
Nick had closed his eyes and taken a trip down memory lane… some 4 months back. They had been called in to work a murder scene right outside on of those cheesy wedding chapels. After they were done outside, they had gone in to talk to any possible eyewitnesses, which turned out to be a waste of their time, as nobody saw anything, and those who claimed had, had obviously not seen a thing. The minister running the chapel had been embarrassed by this, and had offered his services for free in the future, should either one of them need them. They thanked him and walked silently to the truck. Nick had gotten on the driver's seat and put the key into the ignition, but instead of turning it on; he had just rested his arms on the steering wheel and looked out of the windshield, not facing Sofia.
"I've been thinking…"
"You don't even know what I'm going to say…"
"I know you Nick, and I know where this conversation is headed. We've already talked about… this…"
"We really didn't talk. We just agreed that neither one of us was the marrying type. But that was 6 months ago, Sofia…"
"I know, Nick, I know. But…"
"Don't but me, baby girl. You promised."
"I said I'd let you know tonight…"
"What difference does it make if it's tonight or right now? You must have made up your mind already. Look…" he put up his hand when he noticed she was going to interrupt him. "I know we said one day at a time, and I was fine with that back then. But we've already gone to therapy, and we've already checked what laser removal options we have…Christ, we've even checked out a fertility clinic, for crying out loud! It's been a year, baby girl. And I don't know about you, but I'm tired of driving halfway through Vegas to get back home and change and then arrive to the Lab and pretend I have no idea as to why your hair is looking sorta disheveled, even in a pony tail, when I know darn well it was me who got it all messed up in the first place…"
Sofia sighed. She knew she was defeated. She also knew she wanted the same thing, just was a bit more hesitant to admit it.
"I think we should get Grissom and Jim in one room and just inform them and be done with it. And don't blame me if we don't get to work any cases together any more, cause I'm holding you responsible for that one, Stokes…"
"Is that a yes?"
"You want it in writing with two copies for archive?"
Nick's smile widened and lighted up his whole face. He slid forward and got hold of the back of her neck, pulling her closer for a kiss. And then another one. And another one. The beeping of her phone interrupted them and brought them back to reality.
"Will do. We'll be back in the lab in 20."
Nick turned on the ignition and began moving the truck out of the side alley. He spotted a sign outside on of the chapels: "Drive-by Weddings. Get hitched in 10 minutes or it's free!"
He motioned towards it with his head. "Whatcha say if we…?"
"Don't push your luck, wise guy. I simply agreed to move in with you. We're still on the one-day-at-a-time basis…"
Nick smiled. He could live with one day at a time. And once they were living together he'd start working on the next step. He had his heart set on changes, especially when it came to her. Even she would have to admit that Sofia Curtis-Stokes had a very nice ring…
Nick opened his eyes when he realized they had arrived at the hospital.
Sofia had driven behind the ambulance. Traffic was a bit heavy as they had to cross the Strip, and it gave her time to sort out her thought and feelings. It was usually she who had the highest risk percentage in their line of work, and most of the times her shift ended without a single incident, perhaps one of the perks of working detective with the crime lab. She had been offered at spot at Narcotics a few months back, but after consulting it with Brass and Nick she decided to turn it down.
But there had been times, in these past 18 months, where she had faced an armed suspect. Fortunately, only once it had been working the case with Nick, but that once had been enough. They had acted professionally and none of their coworkers suspected anything out of the ordinary in their behaviour. The scream fest began the moment they got into his truck, minutes after clocking out. In a way, it had been endearing to realize just how much he cared for her.
"The moment something happens to you, that's it for me Curtis! Don't you get it?" he had yelled at her
"Stop trying to make me feel responsible for your suicidal tendencies, you Texan maniac!" she had yelled right back.
Nick opened his mouth to say something but he quickly closed it. He had "busted" written all over his face and it made Sofia even angrier.
"Nicholas Coleman Stokes, if you have been having an affair with your service pistol behind my back, I swear to God I'm leaving you…"
"No! I'm not. You're not. Damn it!" he smacked the steering wheel hard. "I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. I knew it! I don't want you out on the streets anymore… first thing tomorrow morning I'm talking to Brass about having you transferred…"
Sofia's eyes narrowed in anger- "Who the fuck do you think you are to be deciding about what I do or don't do with my life?"
She had gotten out of his truck and slammed the door shut with all her might, walking back to where her own car was. The sound of another door slamming followed almost instantly. As soon as he reached her, he grabbed her by the arm and pinned her against the wall.
"Don't you dare walk out on me like that!"
"Don't you dare try running my life for me!"
"Fuck it, Curtis! Do you have any idea how it feels to see the woman you love staring at the barrel of a gun and not know if the guy holding it is going to pull the trigger before someone takes him out?"
Nick's confession managed to cool her anger a bit and he sensed it.
"Baby girl… listen to me… if something happens to you… if I lost you… I wouldn't know what to do with myself… I can't promise I won't end up killing myself somehow… I just don't want to live without you in my life…"
That took all the wind from her sails and five minutes later they were having sex against the wall of the parking lot… in broad daylight.
The memory made Sofia flush all over. To this day, there were things… everyday objects or words… that she couldn't see, say out loud or think about without blushing at the memories. To say that their sex life had had some very hot moments would be an understatement. A bowl of chili was worse than pheromones. If Greg's lab coat could speak, Greg would certainly never wear it again. And she was sure they had broken at least 3 regulations by flashing their badges to get access backstage while they were watching "Zoomanity"…
A honk behind her brought Sofia back to reality and she kept on driving towards the hospital. She couldn't help feeling nervous. Granted, this had been the first time Nick had been in any real danger, but she suddenly understood how he felt every time he heard she had to pull her gun out while in the field.
And she didn't like the feeling one bit.
Jim Brass had warned her about it. He had quoted from many sources that the percentage of successful relationships between cops was one digit only. And then he said he truly hoped they were the exception. Grissom had been also adamant on caution, but seemed to believe they were a good match and that they had a good chance of surviving the first 3 months.
And survived they had. 18 months so far. She had moved in with him almost 4 months ago, and it had taken some getting used to. It hadn't been easy, and at times she wished she hadn't sublet her own place, but they had managed to reach a compromise in most cases. In those they hadn't been able to do so… well… they both had slept at the crime lab their share of nights until they both had calmed down enough to at least try to discuss how they were going to proceed if neither one of them was willing to compromise.
She thought back to the time they had gone to the laser removal clinic. Nick's ankle scar had been giving him some trouble lately so he'd opted to get it removed to see if it lessened the problem. Deep down Sofia knew that once there he was going to convince her to give it a try and had decided to bring it up first. So they both gave it a try. And they never went back.
They had been told the procedure was not without pain. They both had gone in at the same time, Nick to get the ankle one removed, Sofia giving it a try on her upper arm. Later that night, as they lay together in bed, both filled with pain killers, Nick had told her that, unless she so desired to, he wasn't going to ask her to continue the treatment. Sofia asked him is he could live with her scars and the problems they presented. Nick told her he wouldn't have it any other way. And that had been the last time they had discussed the topic.
That was also the first time she had actually considered becoming Mrs. Nick Stokes somewhere down the road.
By the time she reached ER, Nick had already been x-rayed and Dr. Benson was assessing his condition. He acknowledged her presence with a slight nod.
"Well, Mr. Stokes, it seems that you're okay. I want you to take it easy for a couple of days before going out on the field again. You know what symptoms to look for, the moment you experience one of them I want you back here ASAP. Got that?" He turned to Sofia, "I'm assuming I'm discharging him to your care?"
She nodded and he motioned them out of the examining room. Dr. Benson began filling Nick's chart in order to complete the paperwork for his release. "I heard from the clinic that the removal didn't go that well. Sorry about that. I had really hoped that you were a good candidate for reconstructive surgery." He kept on writing without lifting his eyes from the paper. "Dr. Malfoy, at the fertility clinic, also requested your medical records. Should I be congratulating you two?"
He finally looked up, just in time to see Nick hold Sofia's hand. Dr. Benson really liked these two, and had hoped things would work out for them.
"I had a nice chat with him yesterday. He knows that your body cannot withstand a full pregnancy, but he was discussing surrogacy as an alternative…"
"Does that mean that…?" Sofia didn't want to give in to hope.
"Your eggs are viable, Sofia. A lil mix and shake, not stirred, with Mr. Stokes little guys and another woman could carry your child to term… think about it, will you? Dr. Malfoy thinks you have a 2 year window of opportunity there, so no rush to make a decision… here's your prescription Nick. I trust Sofia to take care of you. I wouldn't recommend physical exertion for a day or two, so you either forget about sex or get creative about it. Good Day!"
And he walked away, leaving the young couple open mouthed and a bit embarrassed.
"Let's go" said Sofia, pulling him by the hand towards the entrance
"What's the rush? You've already figured out how to be creative? Hey watch it, careful there, that's my hand you're crushing..."
They avoided all mention of Dr. Malfoy for the rest of the day. It wasn't until late that night, as they lay in bed in each other's arms, that Nick brought it up.
"So… hmm… surrogacy…"
"It does boggle the mind…"
"Had you ever… you know… given it some consideration?"
Sofia hesitated for a moment before deciding to go with the truth. "Not until I moved in with you…"
Nick felt his heart expand and tears threatened to show up. He pulled Sofia closer for a kiss. "Baby girl… I love you… I'd love to have a child we could call ours, but I'm not so sure about surrogacy… I'm willing to give it a chance, if you want to…"
"Amor… I'm not even sure if I'd make a good mother… kids were not among my five top priorities in life when I was growing up… and since my biological clock melted down…"
"Sofia… you know I hate it when you make jokes like those…"
"Sorry…. Defense mechanism… old habits die hard. Can we… ah… discuss this later? I just need some time to get used to the idea that I can actually consider having children as a viable option in my life…"
"Take all the time you need, baby girl… remember our golden rule…"
"I know Nick… I know… one day at a time."
Xxx XXX xxX
A/N: Not happily ever after, but not entirely angsty, either.
A/N2: Some pop culture references used were:
- "Hello gorgeous" is my favorite line in Barbra Streisand's "Funny Girl"
- One of Rod Stewart's most popular song is "Do you think I'm sexy?"
- "Zoomanity" is the Cirque du Soleil erotic spectacle, presenting both nudity and sexual-like representations, both gay and straight.
- "Amor" (Spanish for "love") is the most used term of endearment among married couples. Second most common is using a descriptive adjective.
A/N3: This is it. Thanks for taking this trip with me. Don't forget to review on your way out. Come back to visit whenever you want, door's always open!