In Vino Veritas (Or Something Like That) - Epilogue
Pairing/Characters: Audrey/Nathan, mentions of the Chief, Duke and the Teagues
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, favorited and added the story to their alerts. Seriously. I feel fabulously loved at the moment. Before we get on to the main story a few notes:
1) "Fraudrey" actually comes from all of the promo interviews for season two. Emily Rose was quite candid about how the cast and crew referred to the "other Audrey" as "Fraudrey" on set. I rather liked it so I decided to use it in the story.
2) I fully admit that I ship Audrey and Nathan. That said, I don't want them to hook up right away. They both have a lot of issues to sort out before they can ever have a strong and healthy relationship, but I would like to see them starting to ease into it. Hence the rather fluffy nature of this particular story and epilogue. Wishful thinking on my part (and probably a good chunk of the fandom).
Same spoiler warning as from part one.
Audrey eyes slowly fluttered open, taking into account that she didn't recognize the bedside table she was currently staring at. She didn't even recognize the wall beyond it.
And, was it her imagination or was someone grabbing her breast?
Letting out a soft groan, Audrey shifted so she could better asses her surroundings, and slowly the previous night's events came into focus in her fuzzy memory. She managed to crane her neck enough to see Nathan slumbering peacefully behind her, one arm draped across her waist, elbow bent so his forearm was snaked up her shirt.
She should be furious at him, but she couldn't quite bring herself to be mad. He probably hadn't even realized he was groping her.
"Nathan?" she asked quietly, and was rewarded incoherent and mumbled reply. Shifting further, until her pounding head told her stop, Audrey tried to wake Nathan once more. "Okay, Nathan, you really need to let me go."
His response was to pull her closer and nuzzle his face into her hair.
"Seriously Nathan, you really need to let me go because I have to pee like you wouldn't believe," she unceremoniously informed him in a desperate attempt to earn her freedom. The bathroom ploy always worked.
However, he didn't move. Either he was dead to the world asleep or he was ignoring her.
"Nathan," she whined, trying to wriggle out of his rather persistent embrace. Sadly her struggling only made him hold on to her tighter. Well, at least he wasn't grabbing her breast anymore.
Letting out an irritated huff, she began to slowly shimmy her way out of his arms by moving down instead of over. It wasn't until she was completely free and breathing a sigh of relief that Nathan woke up. "Audrey?" he mumbled.
"Morning," she said as she stood and stretched. "Um, where's your bathroom?"
Nathan pointed in the general direction of west, letting out a soft chuckle of amusement when she dashed off and breaking out into full on laughter when she yelled, "Hallelujah!" upon finding it.
Rolling onto his back, Nathan stared up at the ceiling, dreading the coming day. No doubt the front page story of the Haven Herald was of his father's demise in a storm at sea, which meant dealing with an onslaught of well wishing neighbors who would only make him feel worse than he already did.
And he dreaded the inevitable visit from the Rev, who would no doubt continue to try to press on him that he was not fit to be the Chief.
"Hey, you okay?" Audrey said from where she was leaning against the door frame, looking at him in worry.
"I'm…dreading today," he answered as he sat up. He scowled at her disheveled appearance. "Are you okay?"
"I suppose. I'll have to see Fraudrey, as you call her, at some point today," she sighed as she ran a hand through her messy blond hair. "And of course deal with people giving me their condolences for the passing of my boss. All while hung over, I might add."
"I was just thinking about that," Nathan grumbled as he stood and ambled out of his bedroom, heading for the kitchen. "At the very least I can help take the edge off the hangover. Coffee?"
"Oh, God, yes. I'd ask for painkiller, but I don't think you have any," she groaned as she followed him.
Nathan tried to suppress a chuckle. "Yeah. But I have plenty of coffee and the makings for pancakes."
"Well, you sure know how to treat a lady the morning after," Audrey smirked.
"I know that it's rude not to feed friends," he retorted, aware that he was probably blushing. He busied himself with preparing breakfast in hopes that she wouldn't realize how self conscious he suddenly was.
"Yeah, yeah," she answered with a yawn. "Oh, hey, are you a heavy sleeper?"
"I suppose, why?" he answered, looking over his shoulder.
"Did you know you copped a feel?"
Nathan stilled before turning slowly and looking at her. "I…what?"
"Yup, you had a handful of my breast this morning," she informed him smugly.
Given Audrey's huge grin, Nathan guessed that he was blushing. "Total accident."
"I'm sure," she answered saucily as she slid into a chair at his kitchen table.
"Trust me, Audrey. I would never do that to you," he said, and his blue eyes were so earnest that Audrey felt a twinge of guilt for giving him crap about it.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. "You're not fun to tease," she muttered as she propped her elbows on the table and rested her chin in her hands.
"Oh," he answered dully before returning to preparing breakfast. An unnatural silence filled the kitchen, which didn't make sense seeing as all they had done was sleep. No kissing, no sex, and for the most part, aside from falling asleep cuddled up together and Nathan copping a feel, no touching. Taking a deep breath, he finally spoke. "Audrey, could you get the paper? It's probably on the front step."
"What, and let the neighbors see me in your clothes first thing in the morning? Is it possible to do the Walk of Shame while getting the morning paper?" she asked as she rose.
"Whatever. Most of the town thinks we're sleeping together anyway. Might as well give them something to talk about," he said as he ladled batter onto a hot griddle.
"Why Officer Wuornos, I do believe you're teasing me," she retorted from the foyer. He heard his door open briefly and after a short pause click shut again. "Well, the Teagues made good on their promise. Just like you wanted – the Chief has been reported as lost at sea and is assumed drowned," she reported as she walked back in, paper open in front of her.
"That should keep the uncomfortable questions at a minimum," Nathan answered flatly as he checked to see if the pancakes were ready to be turned.
"I don't think the Teagues will tell anyone the truth, they had a lot of respect for your dad. I couldn't tell you if Duke will keep his mouth shut, though."
"If he knows what's good for him, he will," Nathan replied. "But I don't think he'll say anything. Who would believe him, anyway?"
"Considering everything I've seen since coming to Haven, I'd say the whole town would," Audrey said quietly as she resumed her position at Nathan's kitchen table and spread the paper out so she could read it. "Remember, Haven was facing the ten plagues yesterday."
"People believe what they want," Nathan reminded her. "If the paper says that the Chief was lost at sea and yesterday's plagues were the result of weather, they won't question it."
Audrey pursed her lips, unable to counter Nathan's logical reply. More than once she had seen the residents of Haven turn a blind eye to the weirdness that surrounded them. Either it was such a part of their lives that they no longer questioned it, or they were so far in denial that no matter what anyone said or did, they wouldn't believe it.
"So, now what?" she asked as Nathan slid a plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee in front of her.
"We carry on. The troubles haven't ended, and we have to keep dealing with that as time goes on," he answered before returning to the griddle to make his own batch of pancakes.
"Is it really that simple, though?" Audrey asked as she poked at her breakfast.
"When has anything ever been simple here?" Nathan asked in return.
"Good point," she replied. She sat in silence as she ate, but this time it wasn't an awkward or uncomfortable silence. Nathan cooked, Audrey ate as she read the paper, and aside from an odd twinge in both of them about how sweetly domestic the scene was, neither felt the need to talk.
Once Audrey was done with the paper, she folded it back up and slid it towards Nathan after he sat down. She quickly finished eating and deposited her dishes in the sink before disappearing; Nathan hazarded a guess that she was getting changed so she could get back to her place and shower. He was proven right when she reappeared in the kitchen ten minutes later in the clothes she had been wearing yesterday.
"I should probably go. I need a shower and chances are you don't want me hanging around all morning," she said as she gave him a half-smile.
"I don't mind if you're here. I actually like to spend time with you," he reminded her.
"That's sweet, but I still need a shower," she laughed. "Are you going to be okay?"
Nathan paused and gave her a steady look. "My father died yesterday," he said in a hollow and lost voice that betrayed his inner turmoil.
Audrey walked over to where he sat and pulled him into a hug to the best of her ability. "I know. But I'm still here, Nathan. I'm not going anywhere, I promise."
He laughed softly into her chest as he suppressed a shudder at the feeling of her hands on the bare skin of his back. "Really?"
"Really. Now I need a shower and so do you."
"I'll see you at the station," he said as he pulled back, looking up at her with half of his mouth drawn up in a charming little half-smile.
"It's a date. I'll be the cute blond that looks freshly washed," she said as headed into the living room to gather up her purse and keys. He rose from the table and followed her so he could properly see her out.
She looked up from her purse where she was running down the mental checklist of its contents. "Hm?"
"Thanks for coming over last night," he said as he rubbed his neck.
"Thanks for letting me stay," she replied with a small smile. "Well, I've got everything so I'm gonna head out. See you at the station."
He walked her to the door, resisting the urge to pull her into another hug. He hadn't realized how much he didn't want to be alone the night before until she showed up on his doorstep brandishing a bottle of tequila and a bag of limes. This was just another step in their complex relationship.
He gave a small wave when she reached her car and she waved back before getting in. He heard the engine start as he walked back in, closing the door and leaning against it.
Nathan knew he was falling in love. He trusted her. She knew him better than anyone. He had let her in when he had shut the rest of the world out. She was steady and stable in a world that had been turned on its ear.
They needed each other, even if they weren't ready to admit it out loud.
For the record, I have woken up in the exact same situation as Audrey (sans hangover). It's...interesting. Especially since my husband is snuggly and gets cranky when I try to break away for any reason.
This is it for this particular story. I'm working on some other plot bunnies, so perhaps you'll see some more one-shots out of me in the future, especially since the season is beginning and I know I'll have some more ideas as the season continues.
A big thank you to everyone who has and will review this story. You inspire me to keep going.