Disclaimer: I don't own. How many of these must I do?
AN: Another older oneshot of mine. I think some things made it go to crap in here - but that's your call as the readers. Alternate ending - if it's not obvious enough.
"Just keep living it - really li -" they were cut off as Sweeney tripped and fell, taking Nellie with him, onto the floor. Nellie's head smached against the concrete, knocking her unconscious. Sweeney fell on top of her, she cushioned his fall. Blood was trickling out the side of Nellie's head.
Shit! Sweeney thought. He heard the sewer grate screech open. Toby came into view. There's that little brat!
"What happened?" Toby asked coldly, but concern for his mum leaked through.
"We were dancing. I tripped. We fell," Sweeney answered just as coldly but felt a pang of. . .guilt? He stood up and saw the blood. "Get some gin and a rag," he ordered.
"Why?" Toby asked suspiciously.
"Just do it!" Sweeney barked.
It seemed forever until Toby got back. And that length of forever made Sweeney realize some things that hadn't really crossed his mind before.
One: If he killed Nellie - or if she died, he'd have nowhere to go.
Two: He didn't want Nellie to die, they were friends before the false charge, before Lucy even.
Three: Nellie cared for him more than a mere friend would.
Four: He remembered how he and Nellie were growing close before Lucy, and the slow progress while he believed Lucy to be dead.
Five: Anthony burst in on a would-be romantic moment between them.
Six: In that would-be romantic moment, he almost cracked.
When Toby returned Sweeney almost gently tended to her wound. When he'd stopped the bleeding he carefully lifted Nellie in his arms and carried her to her room.
As he gently lay her on her bed her eyes fluttered open. She groaned.
"Wha - what happened?"
"Ssh," Sweeney advised. "You fell and hit your head pretty hard," he answered while stroking her forehead with his thumb, almost caressing it. She squeezed her eyes shut. "Get some rest, my love," he said before gently kissing her forehead. He turned to leave but found Nellie's hand wrapped around his own. She used it to guide him to where she could whisper in his ear,
"I love you." Sweeney kissed her cheek.
"I love you, too," he replied in the quietest of whispers. If he hadn't tripped just when he did, she'd undoubtedly be dead right now. And him too, most likely, with Toby hiding in the sewers.
If he hadn't tripped. . .they'd both be dead right now.