A/N: This came from senseless conversations about something Sam said at the comic con, how in episode 10 Nathan says two words that describe him. Since we are desperate fangirls and Nathan/Audrey stans of course we had to come up with these two little words. The plot revolves around (or this happens after) the summary for episode 10.
For Laura and Erin.
She goes still at the words. Her brain tries to process what he actually said before she realizes she didn't make the words up. They are sitting on her couch, shoulder by shoulder, bent over case files, ignoring the tension and the real issues and the fact she almost got killed a few hours before. "What…?" she asks with a dumbfound expression because she's still a little shell shocked.
She had noticed him staring at her for a good few minutes but to the moment he uttered those words she had figured he was just worried and trying to make sure she was all right so she had ignored him. He had fought and complained all the way home and for a while afterwards that she should rest but she was too wired to shut her brain down.
He seems to suddenly lose his courage, something she's sure he's been building for a while and she knows his hesitance is due to the fact she probably looks like a deer caught in headlights. "I love you," he finally blurts out and while her chest fills up with warmth those aren't words she hasn't heard before.
"Nathan, that's not enough-"
"Why not?" he interrupts her and runs his hands through his hair exasperated. She finds it cute most times, but not when it's directed at her. "We have wasted too much time already. And I don't mean the past month."
They did waste so much time with other people and ignoring their feelings and going around in circles. His voice is angry, exhausted and he looks worn out. He looks older and wiser and the pain she sees in his face feels like a stab into her chest because she barely has a couple of weeks with him and it feels like a minute, it feels like grains of sand slipping through her fingers no matter how hard she squeezes her hand.
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
She notices Nathan touch his chest, over the lump under his shirt and wonders if the chain he always carries around his neck has any part in his decision. She had seen the ring the first time they made love; a masculine band that matches the one Vince gave her down to the tiny details on the top.
She loves him, there's no question or doubts or second guessing herself, but she knows he's getting desperate because of her deadline, because a lifetime to them carries so much weight. She remembers Sarah's own ring safely tucked inside her bedside table, gently wrapped in a handkerchief, away from prying eyes but close to her heart. Sarah was married once. Did she find a man that loved her enough to commit even when there would be no permanence? Is that man still alive? Still thinking of her? Loving her? Did she show up in Haven with a ring already around her finger? Why does Nathan have one just like it? Why did his dad have it?
She sits there for a while, heavy breathing and sweaty palms and tries to calm herself down. It's not like the thought never crossed her mind, because it did. It did when she lost him once, then lost him for the second time. It did when she saw him around babies, when she kissed him. When he said she wasn't just his partner anymore. She wondered so many times how it'd be to spend the rest of her days with him she has lost count of how many failed dreams and broken hopes she's had.
"You can't ask me that just because we don't have enough time left."
He stands from the couch, moves away from her enough to be certain she won't touch him, he won't be distracted. "That's not the reason."
But it is, and she knows it. The closer they get the more restless he becomes. "Nathan-"
"Don't, Audrey." He starts pacing the crammed space between her couch and her fireplace and she can see his wheels turning, can see him gathering his thoughts and she instantly knows there's a storm coming. "The first time I saw you, you were in a car dangling over a cliff, just about to fall off. I looked in through the window and you had your face screwed up in disbelief. You looked annoyed, incredulous about the situation you were in. But you didn't look scared. And the first thing you do when I get you out is crack a joke. You just almost died, and you made fun of it."
She sits there, watches him wave his hands around, watches the emotions change on his face, and her chest aches at it. She doesn't say anything, lets him talk because he needs to get his feelings out before facing another confrontation.
"We were on the beach," he continues and a small smile plays at his lips, pull to a smirk and his eyes lose their focus on her to fixate on something only his mind can see. "A dead body between us, the Chief yapping his usual annoyance, and you were cracking jokes. That was the first time I thought 'wow, I could really fall in love with this girl'."
His eyes focus on her again and she feels her entire resistance, her entire resolve crack and crumble. And that's it; the pure adoration she sees in his eyes every day knocks the breath out of her.
"So don't tell me I only want to marry you because I think your days are numbered. So if you think I'm letting you go that easily you're out of your mind."
In a quick motion she stands up and presses her face against his, her lips meet his in a violent kiss, desperate and hungry and heartbreaking. She kisses him with all she has left, with her sadness and her love, with the bittersweet taste of goodbyes and sharp spice of denials and loss.
His stubbornness in refusing to let her go, in refusing to accept her fate when she's so compliant, when she has already given in frustrates her but it still makes her fall more in love with him. It's his absolute faith in her and them that pushes her forward.
"Okay," she says when she's ready to let his lips go. Their foreheads are touching and she can feel Nathan's breath fan over her face, his heart beat under her palm and his blood pressure push against her fingertips.
"Okay as in yes?"
"Yes. Your speech kind of won me over." He kisses her this time and it's slow and gentle like a lazy summer afternoon.
"I do love you, Nathan and I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
"For better or for worse?"
She moves back so she can look him in the eyes and the hope she sees reflecting against them almost breaks her heart. She doesn't want to let him go. Not now, not ever.
"For better or for worse."