Nick spent the next few hours silently pacing his room, pausing every once in awhile to unfold the picture Kira had shoved into his hands and laughing silently, disbelievingly, each and every time. What in the world had happened tonight? He rubbed his aching eyes and glanced over at his alarm clock, the red numbers telling him the time was 6:45. Whatever had happened had happened, and he knew he would have to deal with it somehow, make this right with Cassie and let them go back to normal. Or as normal as their lives got, anyway.

Nick put on his coat, grabbed a Sharpie from his desk drawer, and scrawled "let's talk" on the back of the picture. He jimmied it under Cassie's bedroom door before turning and heading out of the building. He had one place to go, no one to see, and just a little money to spend.

Nick and Cassie had moved around a lot in the years since they'd met, and as happened with any two people stuck together, they fought. And maybe they fought more than most, because, on top of everything else, Cassie was dealing with being a teenager and Nick was dealing with—well, dealing with someone else on a constant basis, but after they'd calmed down and exchanged peace offerings and apologized with sheepish grins, everything would be alright again. After all, that's what (friends? family? whatever) were for.

Nick walked back to their brownstone building with a grocery sack in his arms and a ball of dread sitting heavily in his stomach, which only seemed to get bigger with every step closer he got to home. He walked up the stairs, hoping Cassie hadn't woken up yet, and was relieved when he opened the door to find the apartment still and quiet. He removed the cinnamon rolls and box of coffee he'd purchased from the little bakery around the corner and set them on the little table in the kitchen, folding the bag carefully and putting it away, then straightening the utensils and the little aluminum containers and—

—And he was fidgeting like an idiot, he realized with a defeated sigh as he banged his head lightly against the kitchen wall. He really had no idea how to go about this. And it sounded ridiculous even in his head. Cassie drew a picture of us having sex. It would probably sound even worse if he said it out loud, but Nick had seen enough movies to know that you never split off from the group in a creepy abandoned house, and you never said things like that aloud because then the person would be standing right behind you, and—

At the sound of a throat being cleared behind him, Nick stood straight up and turned around, taking in the sight of Cassie in an oversized t-shirt, messy hair, and holding his note/her picture in her hand, still folded up, and some other papers as well. Cautiously, not saying a word, they eyed each other until Nick gestured towards a cinnamon roll and Cassie sat down in front of it, taking a large bite and humming with pleasure. Nick poured them both coffee and set in on his own cinnamon roll. And as he devoured it, he was practically crawling out of his own skin at the near-normalcy of it all. Fuck this, he thought, putting his roll back down and taking a closer look at Cassie. She had her eyes shut tight as she chewed on her breakfast, as if it were the best cinnamon roll to ever grace the planet, but when he paid a little bit more attention he realized she was just avoiding him as much as he was trying to avoid her.

Cassie once told him that only a Watcher could really understand that, without all the dull minutiae of everyday life, the big moments in life would never happen. It is something too big for most people to understand, the knowledge that a seemingly small thing can create a huge change. Turn left instead of right, and the car that was destined to swerve into you hits a guard rail instead. Knock on a grungy white motel room door, and it's the same old story. But what if you don't knock?

The cinnamon roll has been reduced to crumbs on Cassie's plate, the coffee was cold, and she had absolutely no more excuses for ignoring him anymore. So she looked him in the eye, no emotion in her face, as if waiting for the axe to fall.

"So," she said, "let's talk." And Nick watched as she placed a drawing on the table in front of him, one with a door and a fist, poised to knock. The second one showed two people on a bed, carefully labeled "you" and "Kira." The third was similar to the first, and the fourth was the picture from the night before, burned into his brain, but now (unnecessarily) labeled "you" and "me." A fifth picture was laid in front of him, the same as the first, and confusion was clearly written across his face, so she explained.

"Here," she said calmly, pointing at the first picture, "you knocked. This is what happened," she pointed at the second. Then she pointed at the third. "You didn't knock, and you came home, and… this," she gestured towards the fourth drawing. "But then you decided not to come home," she told him, pointing at the fifth picture, "and… here we are."

Nick rubbed his hands over his face, trying to give himself some time to think about what she'd just told him, then dropped them to his lap and looked her in the eye. "Here we are," he said, "but where is here?"

Author's Note: Blah blah blah, sorry about the long wait, I'll spare you the excuses. If you enjoyed, please read and review, even if it's just a few words! Thanks!