Well here we are. The final part. This one jumps between the two of them and is a bit fluffier than the other two parts. I've never really written any romantic fics before so I hope this isn't too bad.
I've had a couple of ideas for some other fics – both one shot and multichapter so please let me know if you have enjoyed this! Reviews are the greatest motivation!
All characters belong to the BBC.
She smiles gently as she catches a glimpse of him through the glass windows of the office. It's late afternoon and Harry is supposed to be finishing his report on the Van Buren case so they can all have the day off tomorrow to celebrate Leo receiving his MBE. While it's true he's sat at his desk, his head is face down on a pile of paper, eyes closed, while a coffee cup dangles precariously from one hand.
Concerned she crosses to his side, but is stopped in her tracks by Harry's expression. For the first time in what seems like months, a tiny smile is gracing his face.
Gently, trying not to disturb him, to allow him his obviously pleasant dream, she loosens his grip on the mug and sets it down carefully on the desk.
As she turns to leave him for a little while longer she is aware she is being watched by sleepy brown eyes.
"Hello, sleepy," she says softly, laughing softly at his puzzled expression.
A part of him is aware he's dreaming, but as he's walking hand in hand with a beautiful woman somewhere sunny, he doesn't care. He's aware of her small cool hand in his, and he can't help but smile at the joy he feels in her company.
All too soon, her hand is taken from his, and Harry jerks awake. He longs to close his eyes and return to his dream, but a gentle laugh draws his gaze and he is unsure for a moment whether he is awake or asleep, because there in front of him is the girl from his dreams, laughing at him.
He attempts to awaken fully, to form a coherent, and appropriate sentence, and after a few moments of struggling, settles instead for a simple,
She perches on the edge of his desk, looking down at him cheerily.
"We never went for lunch!" she exclaims suddenly, "I promised you lunch, and we never went!"
Harry thinks about this for a moment, looking at the clock to try and work out how long he's been asleep if it is suddenly lunch time.
"It's seven o clock, Nikki." He points out, "isn't that a little late for lunch?"
He watches her consider this for a moment, wishing that he had just agreed so that he could spend some more time with her.
"Is your report done?" she asks him. He gestures to the printer, and leans back in his seat.
"Yes, it was the soothing lullaby of the printing which sent me to sleep." He jokes. She smiles cheerily and he can't help but think that the room is a little brighter as she does. Then he has to laugh at himself, and his teenage infatuation with Nikki. If anyone ever heard his thoughts on his female colleague he would, of course, be mortified, but in the privacy of his own head he secretly enjoys it. It's a long time since Harry has felt this way about anyone, and he resolves to enjoy it, even if he can't yet share his feelings with her.
"Why not come to mine for dinner?"
She's not sure why she's nervous about asking Harry over. It's practically a weekly ritual for them, but since Hungary and her revelation to Leo she has felt like she is living on borrowed time before she has to confess all to him.
"That would be great," he replies. "Chinese or Indian?"
This is their weekly argument, he prefers Chinese, she Indian and they always compromise on Thai. Yet every week he asks her, and every week she pretends to consider. She's never told him that she's come to prefer Thai to Indian anyway, not because of taste but because she associates it with comforting memories of evening of laughter on the sofa. Instead she pretends to think over her choices.
"Shall we have Thai?"
Harry pretends to think about the offered compromise, though he already knows he'll accept. He'd never tell her but for a long time he's preferred Thai to Chinese, just because of the associations he has with eating it. He only ever has Thai with Nikki, he's tried once before to take one of his dates to the local restaurant and has never done it since, there was something sacrilegious about the action, and he vaguely remembers calling his date Nikki by mistake.
"Thai is fine," he agrees, standing up to retrieve his coat from behind the door, "Ready?"
He watches her retrieve her jacket and follows her out to the car park. She shivers as they step out onto the breezy rooftop and he longs to take her hands in his to keep them warm.
As he settles in the passenger seat, he thinks again about his feelings for Nikki. He knows now, that this is it. There will be no more casual dates or flings, either in London or elsewhere. They are more trouble than they are worth, even discounting the events of Hungary, and he has come to realise he derives no pleasure from casual sex anymore.
Maybe he will have to tell Leo that he has finally grown up.
Nikki is humming tunelessly along to the radio and Harry realises he will have to escape his thoughts so raises his voice to join hers in a tuneless rendition of Snow Patrol.
She is curled on her sofa with a glass of wine, waiting patiently for the food to arrive. She is flushed from laughing at Harry's terrible car singing, and now Love Actually is playing on the TV and Harry is making her giggle by singing along to the soundtrack wherever possible. She's secretly hoping he will join in with dancing along with Hugh Grant later in the movie.
They've both seen it hundreds of times so Nikki doesn't feel guilty for interrupting the film as Harry rants for the hundredth time about the benefits of the silent setting on a mobile phone in the workplace.
She hits the mute button and turns to Harry,
"You don't have to talk to me if you don't want to," she starts hesitantly, "but I just wanted to ask if you were ok?"
He sighs deeply and sets his wine glass on the table in front of him. He isn't sure what to say to her, but the guilt he feels about Hungary has been increasing in proportion to his thoughts about the woman in front of him. He wants to get it off his chest, and he knows she is the only one he will ever be able to share it with, but he doesn't want her to think badly of him.
Still, he thinks that he has been lying for too long. It hurt Anna, it has been hurting him, and if he carries on he will hurt Nikki and that is the one thing that he cannot bear.
Sighing again, he begins, finally, to tell the truth.
"I feel guilty Niks," he begins hesitantly, staring down at his knees. He is dimly aware that her hand has finally found its way into his and he squeezes it softly.
"I know that I didn't kill Anna, and that it probably would have happened, even if I wasn't there. But I still feel so guilty."
He pauses, and Nikki remains silent, giving him space to find the words he has been wanting to say.
"I didn't love Anna." He finally blurts out. "She was wonderful, strong and beautiful, but I was never in love with her. I thought if I spent more time with her I might feel different but all it did was make me realise I had made a terrible mistake."
His voice catches, and Nikki regrets causing him the pain that is etched over his face. She derives no pleasure from hearing the truth of his feelings for Anna, not with Harry looking so distraught in front of her.
"The day she...died, Anna asked me what I wanted. I didn't know about the baby then, as far as I knew we had been ... taking precautions. But she asked me what I wanted, and I couldn't tell her."
He looks up at Nikki, his face anguished.
"Why couldn't you tell her?" she asks him gently. Somehow she is aware that the answer to this question is at the heart of what is upsetting him. She doesn't want to push him too hard though, and she wonders if she has already crossed the line as Harry stands up abruptly and stares out of the window.
Harry realises the way this conversation is going to end now. He moves over to the window, unable to look at her face as he tells her the truth. He's still not sure now is the right time, not sure he can take her rejection, but he can't handle the deception anymore either.
"I haven't been able to tell anyone that," he whispers, "I haven't even been able to tell you."
She stands behind him, resting a hand on his shoulder and turning him to face her.
"Tell me what?" She asks, surprised by the catch in her voice. Harry is still looking at the floor and she has to strain to hear his reply.
He takes a deep breath.
"I love you Nikki."
For a moment there is silence. Then Harry realises the enormity of what he has said and immediately begins to apologise.
"Nikki I'm, I shouldn't have...I'm so sorry Niks, forget I said anything, just forg..."
Nikki presses a hand to his mouth silencing him. She is relieved that the time has come or honesty and elated that Harry feels the same way. Slowly, deliberately, she leans forward and presses her lips to his.
For a moment she breaks away and whispers to him,
"I love you too," she is going to say more, but Harry's arms tighten around her and he lifts her to his eye level, pressing his lips to hers again, deepening the kiss as tears roll down her face.
Harry is dimly aware that they need to talk about this. Need to discuss how they will proceed, how they will manage at work and how they will break the news to Leo.
But for now, she is kissing him, she loves him and he has never, never been happier than he is now.
So yes, there is lots to be worked out.
Just not now.