In Vino Veritas (Or Something Like That)
Pairing/Characters: Audrey/Nathan, mentions of the Chief and Duke
Rating: T for alcohol use and mentions of sex
Author's Note: A little "what if" scene for the end of "A Tale of Two Audrey's." Pretty much spoilers for "Spiral" and the end bits for "A Tale of Two Audrey's" so if you're new to the fandom you might want to wait to read this until you're all caught up.
Nathan's living room was dark. In fact, his whole house was dark. When the evening light had faded he hadn't even bothered to turn on a light. He was drained. Turning on a light would have taken effort, so he sat in the dark.
Or semi-dark, as the case was, since the only source of light in his house at the moment came from a street light that was probably 500 feet from his window.
Having returned home after burying the man he would always call his father, he had sat down on his couch and hadn't moved, too numb – emotionally speaking – to do anything else. He had to process a lot of information. The man whom he had always known as his father had actually adopted him. His real father had been in Shawshank on murder charges. Both of his fathers had been troubled. Audrey might not actually be Audrey. Audrey knew that he could feel her touch. Duke was married.
Well, as the saying went, when it rains, it pours.
Nathan was only pulled out of his thoughts when there was a sharp knock on his door. He closed his eyes and sighed, willing the person to go away. He didn't want to deal with people.
"Nathan!" he heard a female voice bark on the other side of the door. "Nathan, I know you're in there! The Bronco is in the drive way! If you don't answer this door in the next minute I will pick the lock and let myself in!"
Rising from the couch, and turning on lights as he made his way to the front door, Nathan couldn't help the quirk of his lips at Audrey's threat. She'd do it, too, pick his lock and let herself in. She was as stubborn as he was, and if she wanted to come in, she was going to come in any way she could.
Even if that meant resorting to breaking and entering.
He pulled open his heavy front door and scowled at her, but she didn't care. "I've brought milk and cookies."
"No thanks," he said gruffly.
"Grown up milk and cookies," she clarified, holding up a nondescript brown paper bag that just so happened to be shaped like a bottle of top shelf tequila.
"You bring limes?" he asked.
"You bet your ass," she answered, not even waiting to be invited in, breezing through the door and heading to the living room. The bottle of tequila and limes were on the coffee table before Nathan could even process the thought that he should probably get a knife, cutting board and the salt shaker from kitchen.
"Okay, Wuornos, we know that the Chief would be disappointed if we didn't send him off in style," Audrey said as she opened the tequila. "Hey, do you have shot glasses? Not that I'm against sipping straight from the bottle…"
Nathan nodded as he deposited the knife, cutting board and salt shaker on the table before heading back into the kitchen to fetch a couple of shot glasses. When he returned with them, Audrey looked at them in disappointment.
"Not that I ever took you for the souvenir shot glass type, but these are kind of boring," she noted of the plain glass. "Not even a raunchy saying."
"If I'm drinking, I'm not looking to be reminded of horrible vacations or of witticisms that fall flat," he noted sourly.
"Right," she said, easing away from the topic. She poured a couple of shots, handed Nathan his and smiled at him. "To the Chief."
"To the Chief," Nathan parroted dully before knocking back the shot. He winced as the bitter liquor slid down his throat. Audrey had made sure to get the good stuff.
When he turned his attention back to his partner, he watched as she sliced up lime wedges and then distributed them evenly. "When we run out of lime wedges, we're done," she informed him.
"Are you planning on driving back to your place?" Nathan asked, noting that they were probably going to end up doing about twelve shots each.
"Nah, I'll just crash on your couch." She smirked at him. "Though if you pass out before we finish, I'm claiming your bed."
"Is that a challenge, Parker?" he asked, eyebrows rising in mild amusement.
"Take it however you want, Wuornos," she replied tartly, licking the back of her hand and shaking a little salt on to it. Nathan couldn't help but watch in rapt attention as she licked the salt from her hand, shot back the tequila and then sucked her first lime wedge.
Like hell he'd let his five-foot nothing partner drink him under the table.
The first five shots seemed like a competition, the duo trying to one up each other to see who would succumb to the liquor first. However both could hold their drink, so starting with the sixth shot, Audrey eased into conversation.
"I suppose you've buried your father?" she asked quietly as she poured herself another drink.
Nathan stopped running his finger around the rim of his shot glass. "Yeah."
"I should have been there," she murmured before taking the shot. She had long since stopped using the salt to take the edge off the alcohol's bitterness. She sucked the lime wedge and then tossed the rind into the paper bag the tequila had come in. It had turned into the catch all bag during the first five shots.
"It's okay. You were dealing with your own crap," Nathan shrugged before leaning over to pour himself another shot. "And Duke showed up."
"I didn't tell him," Audrey said, but she didn't know why she felt that she had to explain herself to Nathan. She had never needed to explain herself to Nathan before.
"I know you didn't. He figured something was up and asked the Teagues," Nathan informed her before tossing his shot back. He exhaled loudly before setting his shot glass down on the table and leaning back into the couch.
"Oh," Audrey said, feeling a bit stupid that "oh" was the only response she could come up with. "Um, did you know that he was the marrying type?"
With this Nathan started laughing. Audrey liked it when Nathan laughed. It was a rare and wonderful sound, rich and deep, transforming him. He looked so different when he was relaxed and happy, his blue eyes would twinkle merrily and his face looked almost boyish.
"I'll take that as a no," Audrey chuckled as she prepared another shot.
"If you had asked me who the least likely to get married was in the entire town of Haven, Duke Crocker would have topped that list," Nathan informed his partner. "He's always been known as a womanizer and flirt. The idea of him settling down with just one girl is laughable."
Audrey took her seventh shot, sucked the lime and knit her brows in thoughtfulness. "I wonder why he didn't get a divorce."
"Knowing Duke, it's either because one, he figured the wedding wasn't legal, two, he's too damn lazy to put the effort into hiring a divorce lawyer, or three, he's hiding something that he doesn't want Evie's divorce lawyer to dig up," Nathan replied with a smirk.
"And what do you think?" Audrey asked, giving her partner an arch stare.
"I'm going to say it's an odd combination of all three," he answered before pouring himself another drink.
Audrey exploded into giggles. Naturally Nathan would assume the worst of Duke. Their relationship was complicated, to say the least. She had heard bits and pieces from the Chief, about how Nathan and Duke had almost been like brothers, but then something had happened and from then on they hated each other. Most of the antagonism seemed to come from Nathan, but to be sure there didn't seem to be any sort of love from Duke's side of things, either.
"Something funny, Parker?"
"Nope, not a thing, Wuornos," she answered mirthfully as she poured her eighth shot.
The continued to drink in silence for several more minutes until Nathan cleared his throat. "So, where's Fraudrey?"
Audrey coughed and sputtered and realized that tequila down the wind pipe was a very unpleasant sensation. Once she regained her composure, she gave Nathan a confused look. "Fraudrey?"
"Yeah, Fraudrey. Fraud plus Audrey equals Fraudrey," he explained. For having roughly ten shots of tequila in him, Nathan was surprisingly coherent. Audrey's alcohol addled brain briefly wondered if it was part of his particular affliction.
"Fraudrey. I actually kind of like it," she said, leaning back in her chair, her drunken and glassy eyed gaze trained on Nathan.
He smirked at her. "Anyway, where is she?"
"At her hotel, I think?" Audrey shrugged. "I dunno. I'm not paid to keep track of her."
Nathan chuckled at her unruffled response. Apparently Audrey had reached the point of not caring a few shots ago. "I was just curious, that's all."
"Mmkay," she said, rolling the shot glass between her thumb and middle finger. Her glassy eyed gaze focused somewhere past Nathan's head for several moments before she spoke again. "I hate to admit defeat, but I'm done."
"You aren't unconscious yet, Parker."
"Mm, but I'm getting close," she informed him with a wide grin. She was adorable when she was trashed.
"Okay, then it's bed time," he said, rising unsteadily. Nathan might not have been able to feel the effects of the alcohol like a normal person, but that didn't mean he couldn't get drunk. Offering Audrey a hand, he pulled her to her feet, but she was also unsteady. She crashed into him, their fronts bumping together somewhat painfully.
Nathan realized that it was weird that he was happy that it had actually been kind of painful, but having spent so long unable to feel anything, he'd take what he could get.
"Where are we going?" Audrey asked as she leaned back and looked up at him, blinking rapidly as she tried to focus on his face.
"I told you, to bed," he said as he unsteadily guided her towards his bedroom.
Audrey looked offended. "Hey now, just because I'm drunk does not mean I'm having sex with you."
"Wasn't planning on it," Nathan muttered.
"What, you don't want to sleep with me?" Now she looked hurt.
Rolling his eyes at the no win situation he was in, Nathan led her to the bed and sat her down. "We're not even going there tonight," he informed her as he turned to dig through his dresser. He produced a pair of cotton athletic shorts and an old tee shirt and held them out for Audrey. "You can sleep in these."
"And you?" she asked, eyeing him with obvious interest.
"I'll change in the bathroom," he said before he left her alone.
Taking her first real look around Nathan's bedroom, Audrey couldn't help the scowl of disappointment on her face. The man was Spartan in his decorating sensibilities, but then again, so was she. There were a couple of interesting decoupage works, mostly canvases with scenes of the ocean or nature, but that was about it as far as art went.
Realizing that she'd still be dressed in her work clothes by the time Nathan came back, Audrey quickly changed out of her clothes and into the loaners. The shirt really wasn't an issue, but she had to pull the drawstring on the shorts as tight as she could to even hope that they would stay put. She was still fighting with the drawstring when Nathan came back in, relieved to find her dressed.
"Come on, Parker, let's get some sleep. We're going to have a big day tomorrow."
She stopped fussing with the shorts and tentatively crawled into bed. It was then that she realized that not only had Nathan changed into a pair of light sleep pants, but he had also turned out all of the lights except for a lamp next to the bed and locked up for the night. How long had she sat there, pondering his décor?
"You know, we'll probably be hung over tomorrow," she informed him as he adjusted the pillows and turned out the light.
"You will be, me, not so much. I might be nauseous, but I won't have a headache. Well, I will but I won't feel it."
"I actually want to smack you for that ability," she said as she wiggled in place, trying to get comfortable.
He let out a good natured chuckle. "It's not all sunshine and rainbows, Audrey."
"Audrey, huh?" she said as she shifted her pillow.
"I can't call you Parker all of the time."
"Seems to me that you only call me Audrey when you're worried about me. Or feeling particularly friendly."
They were lying stiffly next to each other, not quite sure what to do. Audrey decided that she had had enough of the awkwardness and sighed. "So, why am I not on the couch?"
"Because the couch in uncomfortable."
"I think it's because you don't want to sleep alone tonight."
"I'm willing to bet you don't want to sleep alone tonight, either."
"I'm not going to try anything, if that's what you're worried about."
More silence. Nathan suddenly questioned his decision to let her share the bed with him. It was a queen, so plenty of room for the two of them, granted they didn't mind being somewhat close. He supposed that he did have an ulterior motive of potentially waking up to find Audrey cuddled up with him.
As his mind worked over possible wake up scenarios, Audrey had grown restless and had decided to make the first move. She sidled up next to him, lying on her side. Pressing her front up against his side, she casually draped one arm over his chest while the other was carefully tucked between them. Her head rested on his shoulder, which she nuzzled again. She felt his breath hitch at the unexpected contact.
"You okay, Nathan?" she asked cheekily.
"I'm fine," he managed to breathe out.
"Mmhmm, sure you are," she retorted with a yawn. She hadn't realized how exhausted she was, but the combination of the day's events plus the tequila was finally taking its toll. Her breathing soon became deep and regular.
Nathan smiled in the dark before turning his head awkwardly planting a light kiss on her head. "Good night, Audrey. Sleep well," he murmured into the darkness before succumbing to sleep himself.
I have an idea for an epilogue, granted the readers want it. If I get enough interest in it, I'll crank it out - that particular plot bunny has nestled itself quite nicely into my brain and doesn't exactly want to leave. The thing is, I think this story is just fine without it. However I'm willing to change my mind should the readers ask.