A/N: Hey all this be Vengeance. So this sort of stems from the unfortunate event that befell me today. I ended up going to school with my laptop, only forgot my battery and my charger. This however, caused my muse to suddenly burst and when I put pen to paper this sort of just came flooding out, so I hope you enjoy. This may become a multiply chapter fic if there is enough interest, so I'd love to hear what you think.
Disclaimer: I do not own Haven.
Audrey attempted to pull her legs even closer to her chest as she sat in the passenger seat of the Bronco. She had the oversized jacket Nathan had given her wrapped around her knees in an attempt to keep her warm. She knew her toes were already so far gone to the numbing cold she couldn't feel them anymore.
She couldn't resist looking down and wiggling her toes. It was an odd sensation, she knew they were moving, she could see them, however she felt absolutely nothing. There was no feeling at all, nothing but a cool tingling in her legs from the tendons connected to her toes.
She raised her eyes to the dials and controls on the dashboard to check if Nathan had the heater turned up all the way. She should have known it was turned up to its max, her cheeks could feel the velvety sting of the warm air meeting cool flesh, however her hand reached out on its own as if it didn't trust her eyes. Fingers stiff with cold reached out to try and further turn the dial, only to be met with resistance proving it was fully on.
"C'mere," it was so loud and sudden in the silent truck, it caused Audrey turned her head, her face and scrunched up in confusion. Nathan lifted his eyes from the road every few seconds to look at her, waiting for a response. "Huh?" her still shock addled mind questioned in confusion. Nathan playfully rolled his eyes and lifted his right arm up slightly to emphasize his when he spoke. "C'mere," he said with a smile evident in his voice. Even after everything she had been through in the last day, Audrey couldn't withhold her smile.
She slid across the seat slowly, attempting to keep her jacket wrapped around her not wanting to allow any heat to escape. As soon as her right shoulder was within reach, Audrey felt Nathan's fingers curl around it and physically pull her the rest of the way until she was firmly pressed to his side and could comfortably rub her arm in an attempt to warm it up.
It was finally here, in the familiar comfort of the Bronco and the safety of being wrapped in Nathans's arms, that Audrey allowed herself to cry. She didn't sob, or allow those shameful gasping noises to leave her mouth. Instead she allowed tears to silently fall and turned her head to hide her face in the crook of Nathan's neck. She could feel him tense a split second at the contact, and then relax. "You're cold," he stated, slight wonder in his voice at the ability to feel the coldness of her nose and lips. "You're warm," she stated in return, nuzzling his warm neck, enjoying the heat that radiated off of him and warmed her all the way through.
Once the tears, had passed Audrey must have fallen asleep because the next thing she knew was Nathan cutting the engine and gently shaking her shoulder. "Parker, wake up," his voice was light and without opening her eyes she knew his lips were close to her ear.
She sighed happily, her body finally warming up and she attempted to be a little selfish and pretended to still be asleep. "Parker, I know you're awake." There was no hint in his voice that told her he was upset with her faking. In fact she could feel his arm pulling her impossibly closer to his body. She gave another content sigh before finally pulling her head up, her cheeks already missing the smooth warmth of his neck. She silently took in her surroundings before turning her face to look at Nathan, her silent question written all over her face. "My face, yours is a little torn up." He told her, something hitching in his voice, what was it? Audrey couldn't tell, his head was turned away from her now, obviously avoiding her eyes.
"Ok," it was all she was able to say. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to respond. She didn't move to leave the Bronco, allowing Nathan the moment to do what he thought necessary. There was clearly something going on in his head, though she couldn't be sure what it was. However, she had an idea. It felt like her needed this, felt like he needed to know she was safe. The way he hadn't made a move to let go of her, not even easing his grip, like he was afraid she was going to disappear again.
Without warning, Nathan finally shifted. He was looking in her eyes, suddenly a fire in them. He leaned into her, their noses brushing and she was so sure he was going to kiss her, but he didn't. Just as she was about to allow her eyes to flutter shut, he cleared his throat and spoke, his voice coming out as a husky whisper. "We should get you in the house," and he was gone, not far, but he was still gone.
He opened his door and Audrey leaned herself forward so Nathan was able to pull his arm from around her. When he climbed down, he stood there with the door held open for her. She slid the rest of the way to the door and inwardly groaned when her bare foot made contact with the cool metal of the step. As she brought her other foot out to meet the cold metal Audrey looked up the driveway noticing for the first time the long walkway that lead to the door. However, before she was able to step down, she felt her world tilt and she was in Nathan's arms. "Woah," she said with a slight smile as Nathan started up the path. She should have felt have felt awkward being carried by her partner, but she wasn't. She was half expected him to comment on the situation, but he stayed silent in his Wournos way. His grip was firm, but gentle holding her tightly to her body, but not in an uncomfortable way. She found herself marveling how a man who couldn't feel seemed to know exactly what he was doing.
When they finally made it up the front porch to the door Nathan gently put her back on her feet, though he kept his left arm locked firmly around her waist. She watched him as he unlocked the door and pushed it open for her to enter. Audrey started out confident, but as soon as she looked through the door, the dark hall hiding anyone lurking, she froze. She couldn't force herself to move. As if sensing her fear Nathan moved his arm from her waist and instead twined his fingers with hers, pulling her along behind him. Once he had her inside he flicked the hall lights on and closed the door.
Audrey looked around, taking the whole place in. It was so very Nathan, one story; a few pictures on the walls, and the walls were also neutral colours. It was exactly as she had pictured it would have been.
"The bathrooms down here, you look like you could use a nice hot shower," he told her, gently leading her to the bathroom. It was nothing extravagant, but it was nice. There was a glass walking shower and it was calling her name. Audrey hadn't even noticed Nathan had left the room until he came back and was pushing a towel into one of her hands. He then held up his other hand. "I grabbed you something clean," he offered as he placed a pair of grey sweatpants and a navy HPD sweater. "Thanks," she said, holding the towel to her chest as Nathan nodded awkwardly and headed for the door. She turned to watch him go and raised an eyebrow when he turned once he reached the threshold. "I'll just be in the kitchen," he said pointing her in the general direction of the kitchen. She nodded her understanding with a small smile and watched him close the door before turning to the shower.
She turned the tap on, making the water as hot as she could stand before removing her dirty clothes and kicking them into a corner. She stepped in with a hiss, her sin still slightly chilled from the fall weather, but the hot water soon started to sooth rather than hurt.
She spent the majority of her time in the shower just letting the hot water wash over her and warm her up. After her fingers started to turn wrinkled and she felt the true exhaustion of the last 24 hours really hit her, Audrey washed herself up, enjoying the way the shower filled with the smells she was so used to coming off Nathan's skin. It was a sort of comfort.
Once out of the shower Audrey wrapped herself tightly in her towel and moved to the mirror over the sink. There was a layer of steam hanging onto the reflective surface. Audrey looked at it a moment, tilting her head this way and that, watching how the mirror distorted her features. She thought about how different she might have looked in all her lives. How much really changed over the time she disappeared. Could it really just be her hair and the date? The man she loved?
She only allowed herself to ponder these thoughts a few minutes. Once she was sure she had studied her distorted face enough she used her hand to clear a place on the mirror to look at herself properly. She looked just as she always had, at least always had while she was Audrey Parker. Her hair was blonde and her eyes a sea of blue, the only mark on her fair complexion was the bruise forming on her cheek from her captor.
Finally tired enough to want to get out of the bathroom, Audrey grabbed the clothes Nathan had left out for her and threw them on. As expected they were much too large for her, but they were warm and clean and smelled like Nathan. Before leaving she attempted to brush through her hair with her fingers, eventually giving up. She'd have to just see if Nathan had a rubber band so she could throw her hair up until she could find a proper brush.
She smelled it the instant she opened the bathroom door. That comforting smell of flour and maple syrup, that smell ever child jumped out of bed and slid down the banister for, the smell of pancakes. Using her nose and Nathan's earlier directions Audrey easily found the kitchen. She didn't think Nathan had heard her enter since he was facing away from her, flipping pancakes in an iron skillet over a burner on his stove. As her yes roamed the counter she noticed there were already two plates laid out, one already had several pancakes stacked on while the other sported only two. "I thought I was supposed to make those," Audrey stated as she fully moved into the kitchen and watched Nathan turn around, spatula still in hand. Her voice was weary and tired, but she attempted the humour all the same. Even though she was shook up, she was trying to keep cool headed, trying to do as Nathan had asked and not allowed the night's events to change her.
"You did," Nathan stated instantly. She screwed up her face, but realized what he meant. He had been to her place; he must have shown up, ready for their date only to find her apartment trashed and her missing. Her pancakes must have been burnt. "Oh," was all she managed. She absently bit her lip and followed Nathan with her eyes. He had turned back around to lay the last pancake on the plate and turned holding both, motioning for Audrey to take a seat at the small table set off to the side.
She made her way slowly, her legs now heavy with fatigue. She pulled out her chair and all but fell into it. "Thanks," she told him as he laid out a plate in front of her and pushed the thick amber syrup toward her, making it easier for her to reach.
"This isn't how it was supposed to be," she finally said as she cut into one of her pancakes, pushing it around through the syrup while she followed it with her eyes. She didn't need to explain, Nathan knew what she meant. "I know, but right now all I care about is that you're safe," he said, his voice taking on that unique rumble tone that always came out when Nathan was looking out for her. Protecting her.
The honesty was so evident in his voice that Audrey's head shot up in response, a vulnerability never before seen there. She wasn't used to people looking out for her, it was always her who was looking out for others. She looked out for the troubled, Nathan always at her side, but in that one statement, she finally realized that while she was protecting them, he was protecting her.
"Thank you," was all she was able to get out, her eyes boring into his. The hidden meaning was there, the 'I love you' only slightly hidden, but neither commented. Now wasn't time for that, they would have their chance later. Now was the time for recovering and regrouping.
The rest of the meal was spent in silence, each detective's minds clouded with thoughts. Only when Audrey finished her second pancake and let out an almighty yawn did Nathan speak again. "Why don't you go to bed, I'll clean up." He told her as he stood and began to gather their plates without waiting for a response, certain Audrey was too tired to argue.
Once the dishes were placed in the sink Nathan turned to see Audrey still hadn't budged. He walked over, his own fatigue showing plainly in his expression. He placed his hands gently on her shoulders, allowing them to trail down her arms to grasp her hands and pull her up to stand with him.
She allowed herself to be guided out of the kitchen and to his room, thankful when he made sure to turn on the lights before leading her in. "I can sleep on the couch." He told her as she followed him to the bed, she could see the small feeling of triumph finding its way to his face when she followed without resistance. She let him help her into bed, though did not allow him to release her hand. She followed his other hand with her eyes as he leaned forward and tucked a stray piece of hair from her face, she had forgotten to ask for a rubber band.
That thought left her when she felt the pull of his hand, attempting to separate them, however she couldn't loosen her hold, it only tightened. "Stay?" The sound almost came out like a beg when she spoke, but she didn't waver, she held her gaze strong, looking him straight in the eye. "Audrey-" he started to say, but she soon watched his resolve shatter and he nodded his assent. "I'll be right back, I promise," he told her, slipping his hand from hers. He dug around in a dresser drawer a moment before walking out. Audrey attempted to keep herself calm as she heard him moving about. There was the sound of the bathroom door closing and the reopening, she then heard him moving about the house, the flick of light switches audible. Within minutes he was back in his room, now clad in merely a pair of flannel sleep pants.
Wordlessly he shut the door and Audrey attempted to follow his movement through the dark. She felt the bed dip as he sat on it and then the shifting as he moved to lay down, keeping near the edge. Audrey of course wasted no time and pulled herself close to him, laying her head and hand on his chest, allowing the residual tension from the day slide off her when she felt strong arms wrap around her waists.
No, this wasn't how their date was supposed to go. She had pictured them in bed yes, but it had been her bed. Both would be worn but not from being kidnapped or rescuing, but from other more pleasant activities that would have left their clothes strewn across the room only to be found the next morning in odd places.
However, this was close to what she had wanted, and right now with Nathan's strong arms around her and his comforting scent, it was what she needed, and for now, that was close enough.