Boxes in the Attic
Pairing/Characters: Nathan, Audrey, hints of Nathan/Audrey
Disclaimer: As far as I know Haven is owned by Jim Dunn, Sam Ernst, and SyFy/Universal. If I did own it...well...I wouldn't be writing fan fiction, would I?
Author's Note: Shortest chapter yet. I apologize for the delay, things have been kind of hectic paired with tremendous writer's block. I can honestly say that there are only two chapters left - or more accurately one chapter and a epilogue. I can't say definitively when the next chapter will come out, but I'm thinking that I'll try to have it out by the end of this month. Sooner if I can swing it. (Feel free to harass my muse as she's being particularly uncooperative on this particular front.)
"I think I ate too much."
Nathan glanced at his partner before returning his attention to the road, choosing to ignore her. He was well aware of how much Audrey had eaten, even commenting that she might want to take it easy as they still had to clean the living room and, time permitting, the basement. She had argued back that she would be fine, but given the way she was uncomfortably shifting in her seat he knew otherwise.
"Okay," she grudgingly admitted as she adjusted the belt on her jeans. "You were right, but my God, those chili cheese fries were practically a religious experience."
"I told you," he answered smugly.
"Fair warning, I might get sick later," she informed him, one hand on her chest as if she was trying to suppress something.
"You know where the bathroom is," he grunted.
Audrey rolled her eyes. "Thank you for being so supportive."
Nathan smirked. "No problem."
When they pulled up in front of the Chief's house, Audrey set her mouth in a determined line before opening the door to get out. She waddled miserably after her partner to the front door, groaning softly as she mounted the steps. "Remind me to never get the extra large plate of chili cheese fries from that greasy spoon ever again."
"I can try," Nathan shrugged, "but I doubt that you'd listen."
She merely glared at his back as he unlocked the door and stepped in. She followed in sour silence, stopping behind him in the middle of the room. He looked around, his eyes unfocused. It wasn't the first time that Audrey had lost her partner to the past, and it certainly wouldn't be the last. She watched him intently until he was facing her, when he blinked a few times a focused on her amused expression.
"Welcome back," she teased.
"Sorry," he apologized. "I know it sounds weird, but it's becoming real. The more we clean the more apparent it becomes that I'm not going to be seeing him again."
Reaching up, Audrey cupped her hand against his cheek. "I know."
Taking a shaky breath, Nathan forced himself to step away from his partner and her comforting touch. "We need to get all of this stuff boxed up."
"Where do we want to start?"
"Let's take the paintings down," Nathan said, indicating to the multiple nautical themed paintings.
"I swear, it's like your dad decorated this place like an out of date B&B," Audrey noted as she started for the closest wall.
"After she died, anyway," Nathan informed her. "It was like he didn't want to be reminded of her."
"Yeah." Nathan stopped and turned to face his partner. "The Christmas tree was always put in that corner there by the TV. Mom made our stockings out of felt, using a design that she dreamed up." He smiled wistfully. "She put a salmon on the Chief's."
"What was on yours?" Audrey asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.
Nathan colored and turned back to removing pictures from the walls. He should have known better, though, his partner was stubborn. "Oh no. You don't get to blow this one off. Was it super embarrassing?" Nathan remained silent. "If it was a train it's not embarrassing, it's sweet."
"It looked like the train from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," Nathan sighed.
"The one with the square wheels?"
"Awww!" his partner cooed.
"And that was why I didn't tell you."
"Because I cooed at you?"
"I really loved watching Rudolph with my mom at Christmas, and the train was always my favorite character," Nathan explained.
Audrey smiled. "Must have been nice."
"Yeah, it was," Nathan agreed. "This weekend has been hard, but I'm glad that I'm doing it. I had forgotten the good parts and held on the bad."
"Is that what killed your relationship with the Chief?" Audrey asked as she stacked up the paintings along the baseboard to be hauled out later.
"Probably." Nathan snorted in disdain. "I'm an idiot."
"People make mistakes, Nathan. It's part of life."
"Yeah, well, it's too late now, isn't it?"
"This is Haven. It might not be."
"Oh God. I don't want to think about a trouble that raises the dead."
"You and me both. I'd hate to think that the zombie apocalypse starts here," Audrey dryly noted.
Nathan turned his attention back to the walls and let out an irritated sigh. "I've got a lot work to do before I can put this place on the market. He never patched up the holes from the family photos."
"So we'll have to come back next weekend to spackle and paint?" Audrey asked.
"Yup," Nathan answered.
"I promise not to flick paint on you," Nathan swore.
Audrey smirked. "I think you should promise not to do decoupage on the walls," she informed him. "I can't imagine that particular artistic endeavor will do anything for the market value."
"You don't do decoupage on the walls, Parker," he deadpanned.
"Why not?" she asked him. "That's one hell of a canvas to work with. You could make an incredible piece of art doing that."
"A piece of art that I can't take with me should I decide to move," he reminded her. "If I thought that I was going to stay in the house until I died, I suppose it'd be interesting to try out."
"That's the spirit!" she cheered.
Rolling his eyes, Nathan shifted his focus to the bookcase with the Chief's collection of movies. "Oh geeze," he sighed.
"What?" Audrey asked as she wandered over. Taking in the contents of the shelf, she pursed her lips in order to suppress her laughter. "Wow. That's a lot of tapes."
"The Chief wasn't a fan of DVDs," Nathan noted. "Not that he had much of a choice in the last few years, but a lot of his favorite movies were on VHS."
"Hey, what are those?" Audrey asked, leaning over Nathan and plucking a nondescript tape from the shelf. There was nothing written on it, which made it all the more intriguing. There were several others like it.
"Probably blank tapes for the Chief to record games on," Nathan shrugged.
Not one to take Nathan's word at face value, Audrey took the tape to the media center and inserted it into the VCR. After a few tries she got the TV to the right channel and let out a gasp of delight at the image on the screen. "Aw, look at you, skating around like a mini-Wayne Gretzky!"
Turning towards the TV, Nathan's jaw dropped in horror. "Oh God."
"Say hi, Nathan!" a female voice cooed from the speakers.
"Hi Mom!" young Nathan said with a wave of a gloved hand.
"Lizzie, give me the camera and get out there," the unmistakably gruff voice of the Chief said.
The picture jostled around a bit before it refocused on Nathan and his mom. Elizabeth was average height and slender, Nathan standing next to her smiling shyly at the camera.
"So what are we doing today?" the Chief asked.
"Today is the big hockey tournament," Nathan replied, beaming at the camera.
"Why are you out here on the pond?"
"I'm getting in more practice."
"Can you show us what you've been practicing?"
Little Nathan took off along the ice, expertly handling the puck before sending it flying into the net of the goal. The Chief and Elizabeth both cheered loudly, and a pleased little boy beamed at the camera.
The TV suddenly flicked off, causing Audrey to glare up at her partner. "Now that was uncalled for."
"All that's left is the game itself. You don't want to watch it, trust me. Besides, we have cleaning to do."
Audrey made a face. "Spoilsport." She rose from where she had been sitting on the floor and stretched herself out before she began helping Nathan put the tapes into a box. "So how did the game end?"
"We won, but not after I got removed from the game after taking a particularly hard hit into the boards by Duke," Nathan answered flatly.
"Wow, if it's not one thing with you two, it's another," Audrey murmured as she began stacking the tapes neatly in the box.
"It's our thing," he shrugged. "Apparently we take turns annoying each other. I don't even remember why Duke singled me out in that game, but just that he did."
"I can't say that I'd ever see Duke as the hockey playing type," she mused as she finished off the shelves with the videos while Nathan moved on to the magazine stand. "Baseball? Sure. I can even see him as a surfer, bumming around beaches all day. But playing Pee-Wee hockey? Yeah, the image does not compute."
"He was good, actually. We figured that if he had kept up with it he might have made it all the way to the NHL but he found his calling elsewhere," Nathan explained as he began dumping the magazines into a bag that would be taken to the recyclers at a later date.
"Just goes to show that every time I think I've got you two figured out, something changes," she said as she pushed the box to where the others sat.
"I'm simple to figure out. Duke's the wildcard."
"So you say," Audrey replied. With a sigh, she looked around the living room. Anything that could even be remotely described as personal had been removed, leaving hulking pieces of furniture and bright spots on the wall.
"I think we're done here," Nathan observed.
"Now the million dollar question: do we tackle the basement now or wait until tomorrow."
Running his hand over his scalp, Nathan took a deep breath and released it slowly. "It can wait."
Audrey nodded. "Whatever you say."
Allusion to "Sins of the Fathers"? Check.
Nod to the fact that Eric Balfour is an avid surfer? Also check.
There wasn't much to accomplish with the chapter. It's "meh" filler in my book, and the next chapter will definitely wind things down.
Reviews are much appreciated!