Guards down

Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoiler: This is an alternative version of the kissing-scene in 2x11 "All the King's Horses", so it obviously has spoilers for that. Also some spoilers for the Nico/Dani-scenes from 2x10 "Double Fault".
Thanks to Haku2009 for betaing this and fixing all my mistakes as well for coming up with this awesome summary!

o0o

Sometimes we all reach our breaking points. These low moments when we feel lost and overwhelmed and we barely hold ourselves together. Then we hide like lions to lick our wounds in secret until we feel strong enough to face the outside world again. Nobody likes to expose their vulnerability. But sometimes life doesn't give you the choice. Sometimes we all need a shoulder to cry on.

I was always good at being that shoulder, that person that helps others to get back on their feet. That's why I became a therapist. I love helping people to get back on their feet by creating a save place for them and making them feel less alone with their problems. I'm quite good at it too.

But I'm not very good when it's the other way around. When I'm the one needing help. I know it's normal to need other people. I know there's no shame in needing help. I tell that to every one of my patients. And I mean it. Yet still it's hard for me to let my guard down. Being the one that fixes things is so much easier.

When Nico told me that Marshall Pittman had the original tapes from the wiretapping, I was devastated. I couldn't hold back my tears. I hated that he saw me cry, hated it. I hated my own helplessness and that I was once again exposed to the arbitrariness of a man I couldn't trust and I hated that Nico was there to witness it.

He surprised me when he stayed. In my experience guys are usually happy to leave when a crying woman asks them to. But he didn't run then.

Maybe I tried to kiss him, because he stayed despite myself. He gave me the feeling that I could lean on him. One reason why I usually hate to reach out for help is that I usually for grab thin air, especially since Jeanette went back to Barcelona.

Maybe he left, because he saw how vulnerable I was and didn't want to take advantage of me. I like this version the best. I don't like thinking about the others.

After TK had shown up at my house yesterday I called Matt and once again I had been reaching for thin air. Maybe I was kidding myself believing that Matt and I were ever friends. After Matt hung up, I wanted to call Nico. I don't know why.

I don't know… The shitty part of being a well trained therapist is that it becomes so much harder to lie to yourself. Don't know means I don't want to say. I don't even want to think it. Yet still, I do. I'm attracted to him. I'm drawn to him. I feel safe with him.

Ironically it's the last one that scares me the most.

It's so tempting to trust that feeling, to give into the illusion. I already fell for that once in my life. Eighteen years later I'm divorced.

That's why I didn't call Nico. I was afraid he would come. I was almost sure he would come if I asked him too. Until now he was always there when I needed him. I never like it when he leaves. I already depend on him too much. I already need him too much.

Like this moment right here, for example. I sit on my bench with a fish glass in my hands crying over my dead betta fish and wishing that Nico would be here.

Then I hear steps coming towards me. When I look up I see Nico, holding a package in both hands.

If a God exists, moments like this make me question if it's a cruel God or a compassionate one.

"What's wrong?" Nico asks and sits down next to me.

I hate that he can read me so easily, but since I'm sitting at a bench with a bowl filled with water and a dead fish, it wasn't that hard to catch, I suppose.

"The fish is dead," I say and hastily wipe away the tears with one hand.

"I'm sorry."

"It's nothing." It really isn't. It shouldn't be. I don't know why I'm making such a big deal about it.

"It's not nothing, Dani," he says. His voice is so calm. He is always so calm and controlled. Moments like that I wish I had his poker face.

I snort. "I'm upset because a fish died. That's silly."

"It's not."

"Want to hear something even more ridiculous?" I ask. It's a rhetorical question. I don't even give him a second to answer before I continue, "I miss talking to him. I seriously miss talking to a fish."

"I'm sure he was a good listener."

I chuckle at that. It's pathetic. I miss Jeanette right now. I wish Matt hadn't hung up on me yesterday. I wish I could save TK. And now I'm having an emotional crisis because my daughter's betta fish died. I can't hold back another tear.

"I'm here if you want to talk," Nico says.

I turn my head to look at him. He has such kind eyes. I feel less alone when he looks at me. Wiping away the tears I try to smile at him.

"You brought me something?" I ask and nod at the box in his hands.

"The box Pittman sent was for you. The original tapes." He puts the box beneath the bench.

"That's great." Nico nods and stares into the darkness that swallowed my garden. I frown. "But there is something else. Something is wrong."

"They found Pittman's body. He's dead," he says. He still sounds calm, but I know him better.

I set aside the fish bowl and quickly wrap my arms around him. We fall into our embrace as if it would be the most natural thing in the world, as if we did this a million times before.

"I'm so sorry," I whisper. As much as I mistrusted that man, Marshall Pittman was still Nico's friend. And now he is dead and I made Nico listen as I rambled on about my dead fish. Dammit. I'm sorry for that too.

"He was the only one who knew me," Nico says. "Except for you." His breath is warm against my neck and his words send chills down my spine.

Except for me…

I back up a little to look into his eyes.

This is overwhelming. I want to tell him that I barely know anything about him. I can count the moments he opened up to me on my two hands. This is so sad. And yet I feel honored every time he lets me in. He's the most intriguing man I know. He's so in control all the time. I doubt that he would allow anybody else to see him as vulnerable as he is now.

I don't want to hurt him. I don't want to push him away.

He looks at me and lets me see everything. He seems so lost. I can see his grief. I can see his trust in me. I can see his strength.

Maybe he's right. Maybe I do know him. The thought feels like an achievement. Like I am special and strong because the strongest and toughest and most independent person I know trusts me. I like that he needs me too, I feel it gives our relationship a nice balance.

I cup his face with one hand. His stubble feels rough, but his skin is soft.

There is no pressure on my lips when I put them against his. The way I kiss him is like how I used to kiss a scrape or a bruise on my kids. I want to kiss him better.

He doesn't run this time. Instead I feel his fingers dig into my sides. He sighs when I pull away. Our foreheads are resting against each other and I feel his breath on my face. And for a moment we're both just breathing.

I should stop now. I shouldn't take advantage. But he looks at me and he smells so good. He feels so good. I kiss him again. I'm fed up with being professional. I'm fed up with my loneliness. I want him to kiss me better. And he does.

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A/N: My first try at a Danico-fanfiction. As always with firsts, I'm a bit nervous about this one. Especially because it's a new version of something we already saw on TV. The Kiss!
I loved it on the show, but I wasn't happy with how they built up to it on the show. It felt rushed. So – modest as I am! – I tried my own luck with it. I'd love to hear your opinion on it, so if you can spare the time, please be a doll and leave a review.