It was evening, and Jenny sat on her living room couch with Ben curled up on her lap. She stroked his soft hair and breathed in his comforting smell as she read one of his many books to him, and she could sense that he was drifting off to sleep, his head lulling back on her chest and his breathing becoming gentle and rhythmic. Despite the fact that he was exhausted, she had promised him that he could stay up until Nick returned from the hospital, which - she glanced at the clock on the fireplace - should have been a couple of hours ago. He had to wait for his final test results to come back before he was to be discharged, and Jenny had wanted to pick him up herself, but Ben was unsettled as it was, and she didn't think it good parenting to drag him out to pick his father up from the hospital when he should be tucked up in bed. She also hadn't fancied getting a babysitter in; she had spent enough time apart from her son to last her a life time. So, reluctantly, she had arranged for Connor to fetch Nick.
Gently, she put the book down on the cushion next to her, and with a sigh, she wrapped her arms around her son and buried her face deeper in his hair.
Where is he? she thought to herself with another nervous glance up at the clock. What if his test results had come back with bad news? But still, surely he would have called . . .
She jumped slightly as the doorbell sounded out of the blue, and Ben jolted in her arms. "I'm awake . . ." he mumbled sleepily. "I'm awake mummy . . ."
"Sssh," Jenny said softly in his ear as she gently lay him down on the couch, before straightening up and hurrying to answer the door.
Nick stood there, a bag strap over his shoulder, beaming from ear to ear, and she felt a rush of elevating relief that actually made her feel a tad light headed. He still didn't look a hundred percent yet - his sickly flush still hadn't disappeared entirely, and it was clear that he'd lost quite a bit of weight - but he looked a hell of a lot stronger than he had done the past two weeks, especially sans hospital gown.
Letting out an excited squeak that was a little too girly for her personality but completely unavoidable at that time, she flung herself into his waiting arms and pulled him into a kiss. His lips were a little drier and colder than she remembered, but so wonderfully familiar that the second he started to kiss her back, she found herself lost in him.
"Steady on!" Connor chuckled nervously from behind Nick, and immediately, Jenny pulled away, feeling a twinge of embarrassment - she hadn't even took in his presence.
Blushing slightly, she looked at Connor and saw that his eyes were everted to the floor, and he was shuffling his feet awkwardly, looking as though he had just walked in on his parents kissing.
"Sorry Connor," she smiled. "Public display of affection over."
"No it's fine - I'll just claw my eyes out and I'll be okay," he joked, his face bright red as he handed Jenny over another one of Nick's bags.
"You're not coming in?" Jenny asked him politely as she shouldered the bag.
He shook his head immediately, grinning sheepishly. "No, I'll give it a miss if that's okay. Before you change into your French Maids outfit or something and I have to be resuscitated."
"No, we only do that on weekends," Nick interjected, raising a joking eyebrow.
Jenny dug him in the arm with a mock-scandalized look, and Connor grimaced. "Ew! I was joking!"
"So was he, don't worry about that!" Jenny said hurriedly, completely mortified. "And if he's not careful, it'll be the last joke he ever makes."
Once they'd said their goodbyes to a still-embarrassed looking Connor, Nick put his arm around Jenny's shoulders and they made their way back to the living room, finding Ben sitting up waiting for them, rubbing his sleepy eyes.
"Daddy!" he exclaimed weakly as he hoisted himself down from the couch and put his arms up. "I missed you!"
Nick dropped his bag to the floor immediately and scooped Ben up in his arms, letting out a relieved noise from his throat. "God, I missed you too son."
"I stayed up for you," Ben said as he threw his little arms around Nick's neck. "Mummy said I could . . ."
Jenny watched the joyous exchange with a smile on her face, feeling a warm glow spread in her stomach. This is exactly what she had been yearning for since the separation - to see them all together again as a family. It was just a pity that they had to all nearly die before she saw sense.
"Okay sweetheart, time for bed," she said to Ben with a contented smile.
"Aww," he sighed, looking crestfallen as he looked over Nick's shoulder.
"Our deal was that you could stay up until daddy came home," she reminded him as she held out her hands. "Now say goodnight."
Reluctantly, Ben extended his own arms to her and allowed her to take him. "Night daddy."
"Night son," Nick smiled, planting a gruff kiss on his head.
"Will you be here when I wake up?" Ben asked his dad, blinking his big pleading eyes.
"Of course I will," Nick grinned, making eye contact with Jenny as he did so.
She flashed him a smile before turning and carrying Ben up the stairs. She put him straight to bed, and his eyes began closing before his head had even hit the pillow. She smiled and stroked back his hair before planting a kiss on his forehead. As she straightened up and turned to leave, he mumbled sleepily, "Mummy?"
She turned back to him, noticing that his heavy eyes had opened again. "Hm?"
"Is daddy going to stay with us now?" he asked quietly.
"Of course he is," she smiled, feeling a rush of relief that she was actually telling him the truth for once.
"For ever?" he said, his tired face lighting up with excitement.
"For ever and ever," she stated, crouching down and turning on his night light.
"Wicked," he mumbled, a smile on his face as his eyes fluttered closed again.
Jenny sighed happily, and leaned against the door frame, crossing her arms and watching her son sink into a peaceful sleep. As she did so however, the image of the other him that she had met crept into her mind, completely unbidden, squashing any contented feelings in a wave of dread. For the millionth time, she found herself wondering how such a sweet boy could turn in to the man who had kidnapped her and plotted to gas the whole of London. If she wouldn't have seen it with her own eyes, she would never have believed it. She knew older Ben wasn't without redemption of course - after all, he had save both Nick and herself - but his outlook on humanity had certainly been warped beyond repair.
When she got back downstairs, she found Nick waiting for her in the living room, still beaming as though it was Christmas day.
"God, I've missed this place," he sighed, reaching forward and pulling her into an embrace.
"Well it's missed you too," she said, resting her head against his shoulder and shutting her eyes. "So have the occupants."
He chuckled. "Well that's good to know. You know what else I've missed?"
He disengaged himself from her, and lifted her chin up so that their lips met tenderly. "Being able to do that whenever I want," he continued stated as they broke apart.
She smiled, but he must have been able to read the worry in her expression, because he frowned suddenly, his sparkling blue eyes studying her face. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she answered instinctively. He raised a doubtful eyebrow, telling her that he didn't believe her for a second. With a sigh, she pulled away from him and flopped down on the couch. "I'm just thinking about Ben."
"He seems fine," Nick said as he sat down next to her, leaning back so their faces were only inches apart.
"Well yes, he seems fine now," she huffed, jiggling her foot nervously. "But I've seen him twenty-six and walking around killing people."
He reached forward and took her hand, entwining her fingers in his. "That's not going to happen now."
She shook her head, and bit her lip slightly. "We don't know that - "
"We do," he said in a patient tone, squeezing her hand comfortingly. "The futures changed. He's not going to grow up in that world anymore."
"I know but - "
"Jenny," he interrupted firmly, catching and holding her gaze. "Everything's going to be alright now. I promise you, we're not going to let him turn out like that. You're a fantastic mother, and I don't think I'm a terrible father either - "
"Of course you're not!" she interjected.
"Well then, trust me," he continued in a gentle tone, "Everything's going to turn out fine. And at least we know he's not going to be ugly when he grows up - that means we're going to have beautiful grandkids," he finished, raising his eyebrows jokingly.
She smiled faintly as she remembered the photograph of the cute little girl that older Ben had showed her. The picture of his gorgeous daughter. Maybe, with a bit of luck, one day she would get to meet her after all.
"Yes, I suppose," she agreed, relaxing slightly.
"Jenny?" he said tenatively.
"You know when I came round in the hospital?" he began in a forced-calm tone.
"Yes?" she questioned, distracted as she moved Ben's book that she was sitting on.
"Well - and I might be wrong about this - I could have sworn I heard you say something," he continued, looking at her with a rueful smile.
"Oh really? What?" she asked, completely nonplus as to what he was going on about.
"Well . . ." he said, shrugging slightly, ". . . I thought I heard you say that you wanted more kids?"
She froze, completely thrown off guard
Oh God . . . .
She had thought he had been unconscious at that point.
When her eyes finally crept up to meet his, she saw with a twinge of relief that he was smiling, his eyes crinkled.
"Do you?" he pushed, clearly not taking her silence as an answer.
"Well - " she stammered, feeling ambushed. Yes, she did want more children. But she hadn't envision telling him so whilst he was in a coma for gods sake! "Well, what I meant was that it'd be a conversation."
"A conversation?" he repeated, the amusement evident in his voice.
"Yes, a conversation," she said, fixing her gaze on the floor, reluctant to say much more. "I didn't mean that I want more kids now. I mean, we don't have to have any more at all. It was just a thought - "
"I want another kid too," he interrupted in a matter-of-fact tone.
Her eye flew around to meet his again. "You do?"
"Of course I do," he smiled. "I just never expected you to. I mean, I know you're amazing with Ben, but I never though of you as the type of woman to want any more children."
"Well . . . maybe I do," she said with a slight shrug.
"Okay then," he nodded, his tone clearly implying that the conversation was over as far as he was concerned.
"'Okay then' what?" she gapped, not quite believing her ears.
"Okay, let's try for another," he said in a light, conversational tone as though they were talking about the weather.
"But - " she stuttered, wondering if he was joking or not. "Nick, we can't just say we'll try for another.
"Because . . ." she began, nearly laughing in incredulity. "Because we both nearly died not so long ago . . . and you've only just got out of hospital - "
"What, are you saying that I'm not up to the task?" he laughed, sounding slightly stung.
"No, of course not," she hurriedly corrected herself. "But we've only just got back together - "
"Jenny," he interrupted, squeezing her hand to silence her. "I love you. I always have, and I always will. And the thought of having more children with you makes me the happiest man on the planet. And about the break up - who were we kidding? We've never been apart. Not really."
She smiled slightly, resting her head back on the couch. "I think you need to cut down the medication they gave you at the hospital."
He chuckled and leaned forward toward her, his hand cupping her face and pulling her into a kiss. Immediately, her mind went blank, and she kissed him back. His hand travelled down her side, slowly and deliberatly -
She pulled away for a moment as her brain started up again. "No, Nick - we can't just say we're going to try for more kids . . . we need to actually talk about it for more than sixty seconds . . ."
Clearly not listening, he pulled her so that she was sitting across his lap, and started kissing down her neck. Again, she lost her train of thought, and tilted her head back, enjoying the tickling sensation of each breathy kiss and the shivers that ran down her spine.
"No, Nick . . ." she tried again as she came to her senses. ". . . we need to think about this properly . . . I'd have to take more leave away from the ARC, and we don't know how volatile the anomalies are going to be from now on . . ."
He reached down and ripped her blouse open, causing her to gasp as the buttons to scattered all over the couch and rolled onto the floor. His lips travelled down her collar bone, soft and teasing, and his hands wandered up her back, making her skin tingle.
"But what about all the night feeds and nappy changing . . ?" she added in a last pathetic attempt to stop the inevitable.
With one swift motion, he picked her up and pinned her against the couch with surprising strength considering he'd been on deaths door not so long ago, before settling on top of her.
"Are you quite finished?" he asked her in an amused voice as he brushed her fringe away from her eyes with gentle fingers.
"Yes," she breathed immediately.
"Thank god," he chuckled, before leaning forward to take her lips again, one hand ripping the already torn blouse from her shoulders, the other tracing a soft line up her thigh.
She kissed him back, matching his passion for her with her own overwhelming need for him.
So what if they'd been to hell and back the past six months? Did that mean that they couldn't just allow themselves to be happy again? That they couldn't slip back into normality? Well, what was normal for them anyway, which in itself wasn't what would generally be referred to as regular. Yes, there were a lot of painful memories to deal with, but they were in the past now, and should stay there.
Before long, their clothes were strewn all over the floor, thrown aside haphazardly, and without further regard. Jenny moaned softly against his ear as her hands ran down his back, her nails making deep track marks along the skin there. Her heart raced as his warm lips made their way back up her neck, his panting hot breath on her cool skin, before his mouth eventually found hers again. She lost her hands in his hair, tugging and caressing, while his skilled fingers finished what they had started on their ascent up her inner thigh.
Now that they were back together - she thought as she completely lost herself in the waves of bliss washing over her - they had a lifetime together to make some more wonderful memories of their own choosing. There were no more thoughts of Claudia; no more jealousy about old lovers, and no more apprehension about ex wives.
Just their family, and the routine they'd created for themselves.
Just the way it should have always been.
Aww, I'm really sad this story has come to an end :( although it will be a lot easier for me to revise now lol!
A massive thank you to all the people who have read and reviewed: CakeyxClickx, sopheezmum, jojokidi, Stephanieella96, Nathol99, Kathryn Hart and Squabble :D i would no way have been able to write 35 chapters out of what was originally only intended to be a one-shot without your encouragement. So thank youuuuuu :)
I've got another rough idea for a Nick/Jenny story, but unfortunately it'll have to wait 3 weeks until after my exams :(