See you, where we end
Disclaimer: Don't own anything. Lyrics by Rob Thomas.
Spoiler: 1.12 (Infamy), promo for 1.13 (Commitment).
A/N: Ever since Revenge premiered, I secretly knew it would be the one show to get my out of this writing rut I've been in for several months. Put together two such incredible characters as Nolan Ross and Emily Thorne and I cannot resist. All I gotta say is this is just the beginning. Thank you forthecoast for your constant support and the quick editing job on this ficlet, love ya.
"And if I stand here silent
I almost start to feel you fading in…"
It hits her the moment she steps foot on his doorstep. Through the glass, she can see that the living room is empty, and beyond it the infinity pool is perfectly still in the darkness, without even a ripple on the surface. She realizes then that in all her efforts to ensure that she doesn't fall for Daniel and doesn't entertain the idea of what could have been with Jack, she hadn't realized that her real crutch would be him.
Of course, she'd known it was a bad idea to involve him in her plans from the moment he showed up at the beach house, but she'd kept him around. Perhaps out of the thrill of having a partner in crime, or perhaps because he was the one last solid link to her father, the one piece of her puzzle that she didn't know was missing until it fit so well.
Too well she realizes now as she takes a step backwards. She should have never let him into this game, should have kept him at arms length, should have sincerely heeded her former mentor's advice.
Takeda had told her the path of vengeance cannot have distraction, particularly any personal investments along the way. Emily knows he was referring to Daniel, but standing here now, realizing where she ended up after uncovering a secret that could change everything, she knows Daniel is not the one with the power to derail her plans.
Of course, she could never turn to Daniel with this (even if he knew about her) but that in of itself makes her uncomfortable. She's known for some time that she and Nolan were getting too close, but being here is testament to so much more than that.
It's an admission of guilt; proof that she doesn't just need Nolan there for his tech expertise or willingness to play along…that she needs him there for something else too.
And that's enough to make the great Emily Thorne hesitate, enough to make her breath catch in her throat, and enough to make her turn around, retreating to her car.
But it's not enough to make her keep going when she hears the creak of the door and the familiar timbre of his voice as he sleepily calls her name out.
She should ignore it, get in her car, and drive away, and pretend this moment of weakness never happened. But there's that split second of indecision and Emily knows she's lost.
It's not love, like Takeda warned against, but it's something. As she walks back up the path to Nolan's front door, she realizes she's dangerously close to veering off the path she carefully mapped out for herself so many years ago.
Somehow, seeing the shock on his face calms her nerves just a little.
"Well that's interesting," he says after a while, but Emily doesn't reply, instead focuses the two fingers of scotch in her glass.
Initially, Nolan had offered her a cup of tea but she declined, then proceeded to raid his seldom-used liquor cabinet and uncover an old bottle of single-malt.
As always, Nolan didn't object, and after she'd had a healthy swallow (a manifestation of her distress, something she'd never do around anyone else) she finally said it out loud.
"Charlotte is my sister."
The words hung suspended in the air between them until the initial shock passed and Nolan asked her how she found out.
It's almost funny to her how Nolan doesn't question the authenticity of her father's claim, how he has so much trust and admiration for David Clarke. Nolan has put her father on more of a pedestal than she ever has. And this has always worked to her advantage.
Nolan's anger at the injustice done to her father has always been an asset, but it's only recently that she's started to look beyond on it, finding herself wondering what exactly drove Nolan so deeply.
After all, everyone has their demons.
The only problem is she isn't supposed to care about anyone else's…
The last thought lingers, erasing everything else she is feeling, reminding her to stay focus regardless of how exhausted she is.
The low ball in her hand touches the marble counter with a resounding clink and she slides off the bar stool immediately.
"I should go. We both need rest if we're going to deal with this tomorrow."
It's subconscious…still thinking of them as a team, partners, and it cements her decision to leave, expression never revealing her internal discomfort.
But Nolan isn't stupid. She can see the wheels turning in his head, can see what he's contemplating beneath his narrowing stare, but she's Emily Thorne damn it, and she won't back down from a challenge.
So she holds his stare with a dark one of her own, daring him to stop her, to ask her why she's here and why she's leaving so soon, and why she let her guard down around him.
As the minutes tick by, a part of her, that one she's worked so hard to suppress wishes that he would. Wishes that he would just call her on her bullshit like he's wanted to this entire time.
But she knows he won't.
Because he thinks that he's replaceable, just another pawn in her game that she can easily discard.
A few weeks ago, she wouldn't have disagreed.
Now she isn't so sure.
Daniel proposes during one of the worst storms in Hamptons' history.
Emily spends the entire next day fielding calls from reporters and avoiding leaving the house for fear that one of Victoria's minions will ambush her. Though the matriarch of the Grayson family stands to benefit handsomely from their marriage, she is not too pleased about it, mostly because she doesn't trust Emily (and rightfully so). Although usually, Emily would have no problem rubbing her success in Victoria Grayson's face, today is different.
Today, she wants peace and quiet, a moment to recharge her batteries, force that invisible weight off her shoulders, and more importantly erase the memory of how she had had to fake every second of her excitement and every word of adoration the night before.
Sometimes it makes her sick how easily she pulls of this charade, but she doesn't dwell on it, much like she doesn't dwell on the fact that on more than one occasion the night before she thought about Nolan.
No…she definitely can't dwell on it.
So instead, some time in the mid afternoon, she escapes the confines of her beach house and goes for a run on the beach.
Fitness has taken something of a back seat lately, along with her appetite, but the light breeze feels incredible against her skin, and the thud of her heart, with the adrenaline pumping through her veins, reenergizes her like nothing else.
She is completely exhausted when she collapses on the beach some time later. It takes her a while to catch her breath and she promises herself she'll make it a priority to take care of herself (after all the fiancé of Daniel Grayson must look the part).
She's distracted by the setting sun and the glittering tide of the ocean so she doesn't realize he's there until the sand shifts next to her and a bottle of obscenely expensive champagne lands in her lap.
"So I hear a congratulations are in order?" His usually smooth and slightly mocking tone cuts through her thoughts and Emily Thorne is back again.
The last trace of Amanda Clarke disappearing as she looks up at him with what she knows is a hint of annoyance, like he interrupted something extremely important.
(No wonder he thinks he's dispensable.)
"Just part of the plan, Nolan." She replies curtly, shooting him just half a glance and turning to look back at the ocean.
As expected, that doesn't deter Nolan in the least.
"C'mon Ems, it's a 1982 bottle of Dom Perignon, surely that calls for a toast?"
Despite his malleable nature, Nolan Ross doesn't outright plead, even when he says please it's always with a hint of mockery, like he wouldn't give a shit if you said yes or no, he'd do it anyway.
But there's something about the glint in his blue eyes and his half smirk that Emily cannot say no to. It actually has the opposite reaction, her lips curving into an almost smile as she shrugs, "I guess there's no better refreshment after a long run than some vintage champagne."
Nolan breaks into a nearly blinding smile and against the dimming sun, he looks like warmth and safety and…comfort. Everything she hasn't allowed herself for so many years. It jolts her awake, sending a simultaneous wave of fear and arousal through her.
Except unlike the last time, she doesn't let it scare her away. It might not be a good idea and it certainly defies all the rules she's made for herself about keeping everyone at arms length…but it's Nolan.
Nolan, who against his better judgment has risked both his reputation and on occasion his life to help her out despite not always agreeing with her methods.
Nolan, who has never given her reason not to trust him even after she had exposed his tryst with Tyler.
And most importantly, Nolan, who never once turned his back on her father, even when everyone else had…even when all the evidence pointed to his guilt…
A surge of admiration rushes through her at the thought and she doesn't fight it.
She doubts Nolan will ever know the true extent of her gratitude to him for that particular action and she seriously doubts she'll ever let him fully in. But as the cork prematurely explodes showering them both in champagne, instead of sighing in annoyance, Emily just smiles, feeling slightly inebriated already.
Nolan shares in her amusement, and after they each take very hefty pulls from the vintage bottle (he lets her go first), Emily reclines further into the sand, takes another swig of champagne, and smiles again.
"So Nolan, got any crazy stories of drunken foolishness from MIT?"
It's not exactly a lead in for a deep personal conversation but every one has to start somewhere. Despite the flash of surprise on his face, it seems that Nolan is happy to talk.
And Emily finds that despite her misgivings, she is happy to listen.