A/N: OK, I have come to the final chapter! Thank you so much to everyone who so generously reviewed and put my story on their alerts and favourites list. I write for my very own pleasure (and I really enjoyed writing this, despite the sappiness), so I find it very gratifying to find that others seem to enjoy my ramblings as well. Thank you so much to all of you for following this!
They drove to Leo's house in their separate cars, it would be a while before Harry and Nikki would be able to find a moment alone together. When they got out of their cars Harry waited for Nikki while Leo already was at his own front door. Nikki gave Harry a small smile as he reached out to touch her arm to lead her to the door but she shook her head at him. "We'll talk later, Harry!" she whispered, avoiding his touch and Harry only looked confused. There was no time to think, however, as Janet was already out the door, welcoming them and enclosing Nikki into her arms for a firm, welcoming hug.
They sat down for drinks, Nikki and Janet started chatting away happily, Leo was busy in the kitchen and Harry, throwing in a comment here and there, was looking out of sorts. He kept on throwing glances at Nikki but she chose to ignore them. She didn't mean to make him squirm but seeing him like that made her feel secure in the knowledge that indeed, he was finding his way to her! And that made her rejoice inwardly, her spirits soaring after all the misery of the past months. Harry, in turn got fed up, stood up in frustration and went to the kitchen exclaiming to Leo, "You're not telling me that you are cooking are you?" Nikki heard Leo laugh, "No, just finishing the salad, the dish is in the oven and Janet made that!" before she heard no more.
"What's the matter with Harry?" Janet immediately whispered as soon as Harry was out of earshot. Nikki, not ready to share anything yet before all had been spoken between Harry and herself said, "It's just been a day…"
Janet studied her curiously, "It doesn't seem to have affected you…"
"I'm just happy to be back," Nikki beamed.
"I can see that," Janet said as both Leo and Harry entered the living room again.
They soon sat down to dinner, where Nikki regaled them with stories of South Africa and Sara and Pieter in particular and Leo filled Nikki in on all the happenings at the Lyell Centre while she had been gone. Harry eventually stopped squirming and instead started to ignore Nikki, babbling and joking with Leo especially, but Nikki wasn't fooled as she did catch a few stolen glances her way.
It was an enjoyable evening and at around 10 p.m., after more wine and snacks, Nikki announced she needed to get home as she was tired. Harry didn't make any move to leave with her. Oh the stubbornness of the man! Nikki bid them all a nice evening and left.
Once inside her car she sent Harry a text message: "Film at my place? If you're up to it… Nikki" and made her way home.
She waited at home for half an hour and was slowly starting to despair (maybe she had ignored him too much all evening?) when she finally heard a knock on her door. She opened the door to an agitated Harry.
"What was all that about?" he asked, storming in once she had opened the door. "You couldn't speak to me or look at me all evening after… after I put my feelings out there this afternoon?" He was glaring at her as she closed the door.
"What was I supposed to do, Harry?" Nikki asked calmly, walking slowly towards him. "Snog you in front of Leo and Janet? I didn't want to rush anything as we were interrupted this afternoon before we could even finish talk…"
"Well, you could at least have pretended I was alive!" he interrupted heatedly, still glaring. Nikki stepped even closer to Harry, right into his personal space and gently smiled at him.
"Are you really so unsure about how I feel for you, Harry?" she asked.
Her closeness and the softness in her voice calmed him. "I don't know, Nikki. I was considering the possibility that I have been stupid for too long and might be too late…"
"You're not too late," she smiled up at him, "I love you more than anyone or anything, Harry Cunningham. Always have and I suspect I always will…"
She didn't need to say any more as he gathered her into his arms and planted a firm kiss on her lips. Her arms travelled up around his neck, her fingers gripping his hair. He moaned at the sensation of her hands caressing his skull and pulled her closer as she eagerly responded to his kiss, her mouth opening to his, their tongues gently finding each other, exploring each other. Nikki's heart soared as she relished the sensation of Harry's body against hers, so close that there wasn't even air between them, his arms so tight around her as she in turn clung to him. His hands then moved slowly up her back, sending shivers down her spine until they too came into contact with Nikki's hair and her skull. Harry then gently pulled her hair so that her head was drawn backwards and the long kiss was broken. His eyes searched hers and he whispered hoarsely, "Nikki Alexander, you don't have any idea what you are letting yourself in for here! Are you sure?"
Her eyes were open wide, filled with desire and drinking in every pore of him. "Yes!" she whispered, her lips still parted, longing for the feel of his lips on hers again.
"This is the point of no return, you do realize that?" he continued, licking his lips, already moving his head closer again to hers, "I will claim you fully and wholeheartedly and there is no going back. I am not ever letting you go again. I swear, not ever!"
"Good! It's about time!" she smiled and she drew his head to hers so that again she could feel his lips move against hers. The kisses grew deeper until Harry broke away again, looking at her in wonder. She smiled back at him ecstatically, her heart feeling like it would burst.
"I love you, Harry!" she whispered, "I need you. It's you, it's always been you…"
He smirked, "Really! And what about all your unsuitable boyfriends then?"
She grinned, "I think they fall into the same category as your air headed 25 year olds."
Harry laughed and planted another kiss on her lips, before lifting her up and twirling her around. Nikki giggled and he put her down again saying, "I love hearing you giggle!"
"Maybe you can make me giggle even more…" Nikki said coyly, grabbing his hand and pulling him with her in the direction of her bedroom.
Harry laughed again, "Why, Dr. Alexander! You surprise me! But believe me; I can do more to you than just merely make you giggle! And I think we can forget about that film for this evening…" And with one big swoop, he lifted Nikki off her feet, carrying her to her bedroom as she kissed his neck while she was in his arms, then laying her down on her bed, drinking in the sight of her lying there in front of him, eyes filled with desire. She pulled his head down to hers and kissed his lips.
"I remember when you last did this after I put you to bed…" Harry said softly.
"Mmmm," Nikki smiled.
"This time I hope you won't fall asleep on me again and I hope you don't mind if I join you?" he teased.
She giggled again. "Come here, Dr. Cunningham, and give me some anatomy lessons!" she said as she tugged at him so that he fell right on top of her. His lips instantly claimed hers passionately; she revelled feeling his weight on her, drinking in his scent and responded eagerly. There was no stopping them anymore after that…
A long time later they lay naked in each other's arms, both of them with big smiles on their faces, still breathing heavily.
"Wow," Nikki breathed.
"Mmmm," Harry agreed, then propped up his arm to look down at his new lover right next to him, "You are beautiful, you know."
Nikki blushed while trailing her fingers down his chest. "Not so bad yourself," she murmured and for that he planted another kiss on her lips.
"Why did we wait so long?" Nikki then asked.
"Because I am no good for you…" he replied.
"I beg to differ, going by this past hour…" Nikki grinned.
Harry laughed and then said seriously, "I really don't understand, you… know me so well…you have seen my anger, my aggression even, and my scepticism and my sarcasm, my lack of belief in anything and yet you find something to love, how can that be?"
"Because you are so much more that just your anger and scepticism and sarcasm! I really don't mind those traits because they are combined with your integrity, your decency, your dedication to finding the truth, your good judgment and yes, even your humour!"
"Now she tells me she likes my jokes!" he grinned. Nikki smiled back and pulled him down to her for a kiss.
"You really aren't as undeserving as you think, Harry. I believe that to my core."
"Yes, you would, wouldn't you? You always believe in the good in people."
"I believe in it in you," she stated simply, "And with all the good you believe I have, I want you to know I'm not really so good and holy…"
"Yes, I have noticed that in this past hour," Harry winked. Nikki laughed but went on, "I feel guilty for running away to South Africa, Harry, I didn't mean to force you to… I just couldn't bear being around you anymore when I felt sure you didn't feel as I do, I just had to leave and think…"
"Shhh," Harry soothed, stroking hair gently away from her face, "You didn't really pressure me, you just gave me a much needed kick in the backside that made we wake up and finally admit that I need you and love you just as much as you seem to love me. That I have always needed you and loved you..."
"Now, don't look at me like that, because right now I truly believe I am the happiest man alive and I can't remember how long ago it is since I have felt like that! And it is all because of you!" Harry said
"Yes, really! You, dearest Nikki, are turning out to be the friggin' love of my life!"
"Really?" she now smiled.
"Really," he said, kissing her forehead, her nose, her mouth, her chin, her neck and slowly travelling down.
"And you are mine!" she whispered in return.
"Mmmm?" Harry mumbled, quite distracted by the route he was taking down her body. Nikki giggled at the kisses he planted on her stomach and repeated, "You are mine! You are the love of my life…"
"Good," she heard him mutter and then they said little more…
They spent most of the weekend in Nikki's flat. A lot of the time was spent in bed, but they also spent a lot of time talking, tracing back their history with each other and feelings for each other in the past six years. They cooked together, watched a film or two together and on Sunday afternoon Nikki said, "Let's go tell Leo and Janet, they should know. They have supported me so much recently and I want them to know. Janet was right; she said you would come to your senses…"
Harry poked her side as they got ready to leave the flat.
"Hey, what is that for?" she asked, jumping away with a giggle.
"I'm punishing you for discussing me behind my back, thank you very much!" Harry said mockingly.
"Well, catch me if you can!" Nikki giggled, running out of her flat, heading for her car to drive to Leo and Janet, Harry following closely behind.