Chapter 44 Take Me Home

Nick sat at home for the next day and a half feeling the pressure. His mind raced constantly as he slipped backwards and forwards between Euan and Nick, at times powerless to stop the overwhelming feeling of his character taking over every part of his mind and body, and at other times desperate to be regular old Nick Buchanan, detective, again. At those times he knew he was paranoid for his safety for good reason. He sat at home unable to relax, and glad Jennifer wasn't there. It felt like house arrest – he was essentially just waiting for someone to burst in and nab him the way they had Shay. If that did in fact happen he didn't want Jennifer anywhere near the place. But he steadfastly refused to move out of the house they had turned into a home together, no matter how much danger he was in. It was the number one place he loved being with Jen. It was the house they were going to bring their child home to.

As he waited for something to happen – to be raided again, to be asked for his badge, to be hauled into headquarters, to be thrown into a cell, to be caught unawares and killed just like Shay had been – he noted how bone chillingly terrified he was. If I feel like this how must Jen be feeling? She wouldn't be immune to it just because she wasn't undercover too. If anything it's probably harder on her than it is me. Matt was right.

Alone Nick thought back to how Jennifer had months ago warned him not to become consumed by his undercover assignment. He sighed, realising he had allowed exactly that to happen.

Alexandra Buchanan was born prematurely just three days later. As she fought for her life in a humidicrib, Nick fought with everything he had to prove his innocence to the investigating team – which was now made up of cops he was now incredibly weary of as he was unsure of who was straight and who was bent - who still relentlessly continued to questions Nick's true motives in his undercover assignment. Over a very short time, they managed to wear him down to such an extent, and gather enough men on the corrupt side of the game that they simply outnumbered the Tony Eastough's and Lee Brennan's of the Drug Squad, making Nick's original goal with his undercover assignment now impossible to achieve. They charged him and stood him down and he walked out of police headquarters without saying goodbye to anyone he knew.

When he held his daughter for the first time he made a promise to his family so deep and so heartfelt that he didn't need to even say it out loud to Jennifer – she just knew. Seeing Nick hold their tiny daughter in his huge arms and seeing the look on his face took Jennifer's breath away, and she knew then that they could make a start at rebuilding their lives and their marriage, putting their arguments and heartbreaking confrontations and regrets and disappointments behind them. But what she couldn't understand without explanation at first was how it had all ended. Speaking with him in the hospital, she sought answers to quell her worries.

Nick shook his head at her sadly, but determinedly. "What makes you think I can ever go back to police work Jen?" he asked softly, explaining the painfully disappointing end to his wife. "I can't. It's over. The bad guys won. And even if I could go back I don't think I'd want to anyway…" his voice drifted off as he held Alexandra and stared at his wife. "…not after everything that's happened." He felt so betrayed and used. More than that, he had lost complete faith in the force he had once admired and adored.

I've been waiting for this moment

For all my life

Jennifer nodded in silent understanding.

He smiled at last and spoke again. "At least I will never have to be away from you ever again," he said, his voice so grateful a choir of angels might as well have been signing his words. He was just relieved it was all over. He could go back to being Nick – the person he should've been all along – a husband, friend, and now, a father.

Just remember

You're the one thing that I can't get enough of

Nick began his own home renovation business just weeks after he and his little family made the move from Melbourne to Sydney to give Jennifer a chance to go back to policing after her maternity leave if she wanted to, and not have to be harangued by the people who still had it in for Nick in Melbourne. He allowed himself all the time he knew would never have been possible as a cop to spend with Jen and Alexandra, and two and a half years later, Tom Buchanan arrived naturally and on time to complete their family.

Nick thought often of and was still bitter about how flawed the squad he worked in had become and how much his loyalty to it had been abused. It was frightening how quickly it had all turned, and how even more quickly it had become irrepairable. He was thankful that Jennifer too had escaped it by moving to work at Homicide in a different state, away from squads rife with corruption and very little hope of it being overturned. He now separated himself from those thoughts though, trying not to dwell on the fact that he'd not been able to stop it and that those he suspected of murdering Shay and of putting him in the frame for the charges that ended his career, had gotten away with their lies and actions.

He promised himself one day that he would go to Shay's parents and tell them the real story so that they could move on and properly farewell a daughter taken from them much too early.

Song credits:

2 – Perfect, Vanessa Amorosi

3 – Lady in Red, Chris de Burgh

8 – Perfect, Vanessa Amorosi

10 – Take Me Home Country Roads, John Denver

13 – Amazing Grace, John Newton

13 – Only One I See, Evermore

17 – Your Song, Elton John

23 – She, Elvis Costello

26 – Bleeding Love, Leona Lewis

27 – Only Girl in The World, Rihanna

29 – The Curse Stops Here, The Whitlams

35 – In the End, Linkin Park

40 – Just Say Yes, Snow Patrol

42 – Rolling in the Deep, Adele

43 – Numb, Linkin Park

44 – In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins

44 – Time of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes