Title: The One Where Kate is Hitting On Nick Instead of the Other Way Around, or The Stakeout
Series: Hint: Kate is blonde, but that's all I'm giving you.
Disclaimer: The character's in this fanfic belong to me like that eighth grade paper on The Big Bang Theory did. Sorry Mr. Powell. It was my last if that's any consolation.
Summary: "Kate." The first time tonight Nick used Kate's first name, and it was said with such warmth and sweetness COMPLETE. .
Note: I'm not even going to try and explain why it's taken me so long to finish this story, let's just say this is the first thing I've written in fifteen months. I've just spent the last week of my vacation revamping the previous two chapters (it's been quite a few years since I've touched the first chapter) and writing this one. My writing style has obviously changed since the last time I've written anything, it seems to have taken on a less jolly tone, and I apologize now if that throws anyone off. BUt, please ENjoy. And REview. DO it.
Odd Shout Out: To reviewer 'Miranda', let me just say that I really appreciate your review where you said, and I quote "but I am saving reading this fic until it is completed.". I actually thought about this line quite a few times when I would try to make myself finish this story. And now it's complete. SO I expect that review you promised.
Nick's neck was sore.
Of course, he didn't know this yet.
Nick was currently in La La Land, dreaming the plotline to Memoirs of a Geisha. Which was odd considering that he'd never made it past page thirty and Carl happened to be the Geisha. But the dream was interesting (if not confusing) and Nick twisted in his sleep to give his neck a rest from its odd angle. This would do little to help the stiffness that had already formed, but would help prevent any further infirmary.
However, in Nick's twist to get more comfortable, he had the unfortunate effect of elbowing Kate in the eye. Which, sufficient to say, woke her up cursing.
Clutching her eye and more than a little dazed, Kate wondered why her eye felt like it'd been elbowed and felt a small amount of smugness that she could still swear like a sailor if the need arouse.
Using her free hand to pull back the covers, Kate stumbled her way to the bathroom, spending the 2nd longest amount of time any person in the entire world could at 9:23am to find where the light switch was and turn it on. (The first being Bernice Callighan. It was widely believed that the fact a boy had been named as a girl was the cause. The real reason was that he was just lazy).
As she stumbled to the mirror (abstractly wondering why her clothes littered the bathroom floor when she was usually more tidy than this) Kate had to admit that her eye didn't really hurt anymore, just stung a bit. But she peered at her eye anyway and noticed with some interest that is looked a bit more blue than usual. Also their was a very big possibility she'd bruise. But more on that later.
Feeling content with the knowledge her eye was firmly socketed to her head, Kate went about her morning rituals.
It should have been obvious to Kate by now that she wasn't in her own apartment. Forgetting the fact that the bathroom wasn't the same as her's (or shape), there was the different toilet paper brand to consider, the change in toothpaste (in a completely unrelated story Kate happened to have bought a toothbrush and left it in Nick's apartment. It was an interesting note that it had moved from the common bathroom to Nick's master, but if she hadn't noticed by now she wasn't in the right apartment, there really was no hope for her to notice this fact and wonder about it), lack of her face wash and no inspirational quotes on her mirror.
It was the shower that made her realize.
Well, the shampoo anyway.
Since dying her hair blonde (and having her sister scare her with horror stories), Kate had bought the fancy salon shampoo/conditioner for color treated hair and used it religiously since.
Nick, having never dyed his hair (or never admitting to it) had the generic stuff that wasn't so much shampoo as soap that felt your hair up a bit.
Kate's hair screamed in protest to this assault and Kate's brain was forced to admit that it was behaving a bit delusional and promised to act more properly.
Ergo, Kate jumped out of the shower and with the 17th quickest towel dry known to man was stuffing on the clothes she'd littered on the ground the night (er, early morning) before, wondering how she'd lost the two top buttons on her shirt.
Tying her hair into a bun, Kate walked back into Nick's bedroom and when she saw him sleeping, one arm stretched out in the place she'd just vacated; all of a sudden Kate needed to think.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Kate wondered for the first time what had happened last night.
What Kate didn't know (and at this moment, there were quite a few things for her not to know) was that Nick had just woken up by her body's weight on the bed and was remembering what it was like to suddenly realize that Kate had been infected with the link's breath.
Nick has never known a jacket to be sneaky before.
Really, with the way his night had been going, Nick should have expected Kate's jacket to have ended up at the warehouse. He should expected for Alice (the PR guru) to call The Captain with Kate's phone the moment Nick thought he'd found it and he should have especially known that this entire fiasco would have been labeled his fault.
And Nick, despite everything, probably would have able to cope with all of that, except that at that moment Carl let out one of his ridiculous comments and Nick flew off his handle.
Of course, not at that exact minute, because he was right IN FRONT of The Captain and was not so far gone as to be incapable of self-control, but the moment everyone was dismissed from Jonathon's meeting, Nick made his way to the snack machine. Kate, whose eyes seemed incapable of leaving Nick's form, followed after Nick, and calmly watched him as he mercilessly beat the snack machine to a clobbered pulp (only stopping once in the middle to buy a snickers bar, eat it, and then resume the beating),
Kate didn't once try to stop Nick from his massacre, even though she also hadn't eaten since lunch and could go for a twix bar. Or five.
It was only when the room had quieted down that Kate chanced speaking,
"Feel better?" Nick admitted (albeit in a roundabout manner) that he did. "Good." Kate moved from leaning against the wall to his side. She was smiling.
"What?" Nick's question was a trifle rude, but Kate decided to ignore that. Or, more precisely, the (for lack of a better word) drug coursing through her veins decided it wasn't important for her to pay attention to Nick's manners when she could imagine other things his mouth could do to her, .
"Why are you smiling?"
"Because I'm with you."
Nick wished he could stop his brain at this moment, that Jonathon had walked in at this instant (instead three minutes and twelve seconds later), that he had realized Kate had been infected with the drug (by now he had more than enough information to make the cognitive leap) because then what Kate did next would not matter to him so very much.
Nick has never before understood the concept of talking it out. Intellectually it made sense to him, and sometimes, when he was just annoyed or mildly upset, talking to Kate usually helped quite a great deal, but it was temporary, more temporary than kicking Carl or yelling at some link. And when Nick was wildly and truly upset, only the physical reaction of beating the brains out of something truly made him feel better. Only when he became exhausted by physical excursions did Nick feel any real peace of mind.
But that phrase.
That four word phrase, dear Gd, it was a miracle worker. Nick felt the residual tension leave his body. He felt his bleak outlook on life take a brighter look. He felt the weight he carried around with him weigh a little less.
Nick was suddenly unable to help a smile from stretching across his face.
"Kate." The first time tonight Nick used Kate's first name, and it was said with such warmth and sweetness that Kate immediately replied with
'Nick." She sounded a bit more whimsical than him, but the meaning was clear.
This 'thanks' was the first thing Kate thought of, sitting on Nick's bed, pondering on the night before. What she didn't yet know, and wouldn't for another two weeks was that this thanks would haunt Kate later on in life. Never before had a 'thanks' been uttered with such simplicity, as though it could be ignored without looking deeper, but Kate was listening, probably more than she had in a long time, and heard, within this word, a desperate attempt at communicating gratitude on a scale that was unbecoming such a statement, and therefore could not be addressed.
And some part of Kate wanted to give Nick a 'thanks' of the same caliber but the drug twisted and deformed the noble thought into well, (jumping back into Nick's head), a kiss.
it was supposed to convey a message, this kiss. It was supposed to bridge a foundation from friendship to relationship. It was supposed to put Nick at ease and tell him that they could make this work. It was also supposed to console Nick and tell him that he hadn't almost lost another partner, and that he shouldn't blame himself for what happened.
What really happened though, was that Nick felt a lust flare up in his limbs so strong that later that night, while driving Kate to his apartment, he was glad Jonathon didn't find them in a more compromising position.
Nick was in a dilemma.
It wouldn't do to still pretend to be asleep while Kate so obviously looked (so Nick had peeked a look at her with her back turned) as though she were in turmoil not knowing what happened the night before (which was exactly what Jonathon said would happen if she weren't reminded of what happened within eighteen hours) but knowingly going into this conversation with Kate, it was a hard thing to stomach.
If only he hadn't been such an active participant in their kiss.
It started with a look.
Although this thing Kate did with her eyes, it can't really be called a look. 'A look' sounds innocent and benign, but this look, it would take the naiveté out of a toothpick.
Before Nick could decipher what Kate's look meant beyond 'You're hot.' (The same sort of 'you're hot' that Frohike had brandished on Scully the first time he'd met her) her mouth was on his. To a casual observer it would seem like they had been kissing each for eons as her hand slipped naturally to the back of his neck and his arm knew before being told to grab the side of her back and pull her closer, a smile appearing on Nick's face and Kate's eyes. But if one paid more attention they'd see noses bumping more than necessary and Kate opening her eyes for just the briefest of moments to check and make sure that Nick was enjoying himself.
Sidestepping all that confusion had to offer him, Nick was taking this kiss for all its worth, pulling Kate's body closer to try to cool off some of the aching in his own (and only adding fuel to the fire), fingertips trailing her jaw in an attempt to anchor himself to her, to get the image of her twisted body on the musty floor out of his head, to feel her alive. A small gasp of delight issued from Kate's mouth, and it drew Nick to near madness. It had been so long that Nick had been kissed like this (hell, even wanted to), with emotions as well physicality that all rationality was lost on him. Their kiss took on a seductive edge, his hand slowly crawling up her side, raging to touch parts of her that he rarely even let himself dream about. It was only when Nick's thumb brushed the underside of Kate's breast that a startled yelp was heard.
The squeal came from Jonathon, who had test results in one hand, a phone in the other and a startled expression on his face.
What Nick hadn't been thinking about (but was actually extremely significant to the story) was something The Captain had ordered after the jacket had been found.
For both Nick and Kate.
To test and make sure they hadn't been infected when handling the sample.
And Jonathon, after getting through Nick's blood work, had found Kate's laden with what would one day affectionately be called P32RTXZ5. Being a good person, and realizing what sort of shenanigans Kate could be getting into, called Kate.
It rang on her desk four times and then went to voicemail.
So Jonathon called Nick, her partner and best friend, and his phone annoyed the entire squad room for forty-seven seconds before going to voicemail.
Panicking, Jonathon decided to go to The Captain with the intention of asking for help, and stumbled on Nick and Kate making out instead.
What Nick needed was an icebreaker, he decided, something to say to Kate so that this conversation would be easier.
Alcohol would be the safest bet, but seeing as how it wasn't past ten yet, Nick had low hopes of getting Kate to drink anything.
Nick felt the proverbial sucker punch right in his stomach.
Listening to Jonathon explain exactly how this drug affected the human body, Nick's brain mercilessly played back every moment Kate acted oddly. It became a chant; a flash of images in his head that wouldn't end.
Nothing seemed able to bring Nick out of his reverie (even Kate's attempt at flirtation with Jonathon –and his awkward attempts in return- didn't help) until the question of a safe place where Kate could go came up.
The Captain, who until now was silent, spoke up.
"O'Malley, take Benson to your residence until she's back to normal."
"And no funny business." The Captain was thinking of Nick making Kate put a lampshade on her head and then taking blackmail-able pictures, but Nick's mind could not get off that kiss- foundation shaking, earth quaking – and his reply was a bit more vehement than necessary.
"Of course not!"
Nick felt the weight on the bed shift and before he could recognize the feeling he had at the thought of her leaving (relief or regret?) Kate- forever now in his mind she would be Kate- settled herself back onto his bed, lying closer to him than she would have a full twenty-four hours ago, exhaling loudly as her head hit the pillow.
"How much did I have to drink last night?"
Evidently his rouse at being asleep really didn't work (or maybe she asked the question to herself) but Nick knew a good icebreaker when he saw one, and knew that he needed to explain to Kate what had happened last night.
Twenty-three minutes later, Kate found her memory to have gone from completely empty to simply spotty. Forty-seven minutes after that, Kate found her memory to be mostly intact in some areas "I'm not actually scared of spiders you know. Honestly, most indigenous spiders in Chicago aren't poisonous so there's no reason to be- why are you laughing?", to patchy in other areas "I hit on Jonathon?", to pitch black, "So how inappropriate did I go? I wasn't found, like, making out with anyone, was I?"
At this point Nick had taken a break to shower and figure out how to answer that question. Perhaps if he called Jonathon and threatened bodily harm if he told Kate what had happened…
Kate was currently trying to make a breakfast in Nick's kitchen, humming along with a song in her head.
And going on the sounds that were coming out of the kitchen, Nick knew he could make the informed guess that it wasn't going well.
"Heya Nick." Two minutes in the car and these were the first words spoken.
"I love the way you say my name." It was akin to torture to hear Kate so free with her words and he unable to make her delve into the details.
"Sometimes I try to think up conversations just so that I can hear you talk."
"I hate links." A mumble more than a reply.
"What was that?" In response, Nick turned the volume to the radio up. Kate turned off the radio when the car started to vibrate. And started giving a stern lecture about the care of protecting one ears.
Nick fervidly wished they were already at his apartment until Kate stopped mid-sentence to whisper something into Nick's ear.
Nick then wished he'd had the foresight to bring a tranquilizer gun.
Kate had outdone herself.
With only Nick's measly fridge and cupboard contents able for cooking Kate had fashioned an actual meal that Wheaties would be proud of. Grabbing two plates at random (it seemed Nick didn't have an actual set of dishes but lots of different sets that only contained one or two of its original members) Kate began to set Nick's table.
And ran what little memory she had of last night over in her head.
As she poured what could be considered orange juice but was more likely powered artificial preservatives into a pitcher Kate tried to figure out how inappropriate she'd gone last night. From what Nick had told her, it hadn't been so bad, but Kate felt more than knew, that Nick was holding something back.
But Nick loved to tease her, so what would he hold back. True, he'd joked relentlessly about her flirtations but Kate remembered quite clearly Jonathon talking about what this link did to its prey and Kate felt like she'd been let off easy.
Hearing Nick's bedroom door open, it startled Kate enough to drop the spoon she was holding, with a muted curse, she put it back on the table, and quickly forgot she'd dropped it as her gaze ran across the table and landed on a spot that should have a serving fork but didn't. Kate went back into the kitchen to grab the offending utensil and found a bite size candy bar wrapper stuck to a big spoon. With the smile of one who was used to their friends quirks but still found them amusing, Kate peeled the wrapped off and then took a quick look at what kind before throwing it away.
It was a snickers bar.
And as Kate grabbed the serving fork she was forcefully reminded of a snack machine.
She walked to the table, noticing abstractly that Nick was already sitting at the table, eating his porridge with gusto, wondering why this snack machine mattered to her, when her eye caught his and she remembered.
Peering over the orange juice pitcher, Nick wondered what had made Kate blush.
She wondered how she was going to get Nick back for not telling her they'd kissed.
Not telling him she'd dropped his fork seemed like a pretty good start.