I know, I know, I know: I should be working on the final chapters to "From Whence We Came" but dammit, Magic Hour Pt. 1 has had my brain swimming in plot bunnies. Hopefully, this is the last one...until Friday, when the second part airs and the plot bunny-itis rears its fluffy head again. :)
Thanks for all those who read and reviewed The Overlook - I love the love!
Disclaimer: Not mine, obviously. I do, however, recommend you check out some Shipyard Brewery beer - it's excellent. ;)
He's literally been alive for a day when Duke comes to see him, haggard scruff on his normally carefree jaw and a hand outstretched in some semblance of friendship – or, at the very least, commonality. Nathan can't keep up the façade of being angry, of hating the man that he once planned mischievous outings with, and so they bury the hatchet in a six pack of Shipyard and call it a day.
He thinks, then, it might be Duke knocking on his door at three in the morning. He attempts to ignore it from his position on the couch, thinks that the darkness in his house and the darkness outside will send the visitor away. When the knocking becomes louder and more insistent, he gives up on hiding and turns a light on, ambles towards the door.
He smells lilies and lilacs before he even opens it up, the scent so out of season it makes his eyes water. A bouquet of flowers hangs in the air in front of him, resting on two familiar hands. It's spitting snow, too, making the scene even more out of place. He can just make out the top of Audrey's blond head beyond the blooms and a smile tugs at his mouth. He looks down, then, and sees the boots he gave her nearly a year ago – god, has it really been that long? – and the last little bit of ice in his heart melts away with the snowflakes falling on his stone walkway.
"Lilacs and lilies," he says. "Just like old times."
The bouquet lowers, reveals Audrey's pale and drawn face. She looks lost, exhausted, like she hasn't slept in days. He'd asked Duke earlier how she was doing and the smuggler had frowned and shook his head. He took it to mean she wasn't doing well.
She looks worse than he expected, though.
"Duke said you were up and about." The flowers hang between them, one last wall keeping them apart.
"It's three in the morning, Parker."
She shuffles her feet in those huge boots and he wants to grab her, pull her in tight, and lock her up until the Hunter's passed. "I wanted…" she starts, but changes her mind, "I needed to see you."
He stares at her, takes in her disheveled appearance. She's been through hell since he took two bullets to the chest and managed to come back alive; he can see it written on her face, can hear it in her voice. He thinks of how much time and energy they wasted pushing each other and he wants to shake them both.
"You brought me flowers," he says, taking the bouquet and setting them inside the house. The last little bit of a barrier between them rests on the side table in his living room. "You're the only woman who's ever brought me flowers and you've done it twice."
She nods, looks up at him, and he sees she's crying. "I'm sorry, Nathan. I'm so incredibly sorry." He watches it pour out of her, the pent up frustration and emotion of twenty-seven days on her own, fighting a future she doesn't understand. "It's all my fault, everything that's happened. I shouldn't have gone to Colorado. I should have stayed here. I'm your partner, dammit, and I took off…"
He reaches for her, pulls her into his chest. She wraps her arms tightly around him and he thinks, not for the first time, how perfectly they fit together – how they always have.
"Sshh, Audrey. It's over and done with."
Her tears bleed through the thin cotton of his t-shirt and he can feel them against his chest. The coolness prickles his skin, causes his arms to erupt in gooseflesh he can't feel but can see.
"But you died, Nathan. Again."
She pulls back to look up at him. He lets go of her just long enough to wipe the wetness from her cheeks, amazed at how cold her skin is. He's missed that feeling, of her skin beneath his fingertips. He's dreamt of her warmth every night since they pushed each other way – and even when he was buried in Jordan, whispering lies he tried to believe, he dreamt of Audrey beneath him.
"No more tears, no more apologies, no more regrets. You've got nineteen days left – we can't spend it rehashing the last twenty-seven."
She takes a deep breath, exhales against his chest. He feels the warmth of it against the bare patch of skin created by the v-neck of his t-shirt and he has to take a second to steady himself.
"What if I disappear, Nathan? What if I go away and you forget me? What if that's just destiny?"
He's considered that already, has started keeping journals of their time together – journals which he hides in the crawl space above his bedroom closet in case someone comes looking for them. He refuses to let her go without a fight, refuses to let her disappear into the ether of the unknown. He loves her too much for that to be their destiny.
So he kisses her. He pulls her tiny frame tightly against his and he kisses her with such force he's sure they'll both have bruises in the morning. He doesn't care, though. He can feel her mouth against his, his skin against hers.
It's overwhelming and sensual and so much more than he ever thought it could be.
He pulls away for a breath of air, rests his forehead against hers. "Do you trust me?" he asks. Her mouth is pink and swollen, her grip on him just as tight as his on her.
"Then fuck destiny." He pulls her into the house and kicks the door shut behind them, slamming it on Haven and the Troubles and the Guard.
At least for now.