Author's note: Nick will be the center of this story, but there will be Will, Will and Sonny, Marlena and a love interest for Nick. The story will have a happy ending, but trials along the way. The story picks up just after Victor evicts Nick from the Kiriakis mansion. The past is consistent with the show, but things will diverge from the storyline of the show from here on out. The goal is to really explore the issues with which Nick Fallon is grappling.

There was a subdued pitter patter rhythm as the drops of water hit the concrete floor and traveled to the drain. Nick focused on the grimy grout between the gray tiles following the geometric lines up, down, over and back. He blocked out everything else that was happening to him and instead memorized every crack and line of mildew in the grout. He was being restrained by the other two and fighting wouldn't stop this from happening. It would just add a broken nose and a black eye to the the damage he would sustain.

There was a scream. His blood feels too thin as he is waking up and it is cold and damp. His throat is sore and he realizes the scream belonged to him. He looks around the room and struggles to identify his setting.

It's a hotel room. A cheap hotel room. He isn't sure if the room is cold or if only he is cold. He pulls the scratchy blanket tightly to his neck and shakes the dream from his head. Maybe a warm shower will chase the cold away. No! It won't. A warm bath. A hot bath, that might help.

Nick let his thoughts wander as he soaked in the warm bath.

How did I let this happen again. Its like I am clearing the driveway of snow only to realize that I have buried everyone I care about in the snow drifts on either side. I achieve the task only to look back and realize I have destroyed everything that matters in the process. When I wake up tomorrow, I have to do something. I have to make something better. It has to come from me. I should start with something small that I can't get too obsessed with. Maybe I will just work on finding an apartment. Isn't that what functional people do? The whole take-it-one-step-at-a-time thing. Why, when you can long jump or pole vault?

Maybe I should leave Salem. I can now, but I think I need to wake up and face the consequences. If I leave, I will just repeat the downward spiral somewhere else. Create havoc in a new circle. I need to swim out of the whirlpool I created with myself at the center. That must be a hundred times harder than swimming upstream, but I know that is the only way for me.

To do that I'll need to be strong. No pills, no drinking, try to sleep. That isn't even the hard part. Something in my mind needs to be attended to. Maggie was right. I need therapy. And I know it has to be Dr. Evans. She has something of what Will has. She has what I am missing. I know she is the only one that can help me, just like I knew the formula I gave Kate would work. Of course, she was surprised. I didn't have the chemists, the lab, or the testing facilities. It was just me and my laptop, but I knew it would be effective, just as strongly as I know that only Dr. Evans can help me.

Okay, that is tomorrow's list. 1. Find an apartment. 2. Make an appointment. 3. Take Gabi her things. Maybe I should scratch that last one. I can do that one-day-at-a-time thing and decide tomorrow.

Gabi isn't what I thought she was. She isn't like Melanie or Will. They are all three needy, but Will and Melanie are generous and Gabi is selfish. She is gorgeous though. I thought I could be her protector like Chad for Melanie and Sonny for Will, but it's not the same. Maybe I had it backwards. I wonder what it would be like to have someone like Sonny shielding me. Not like Vargus, either, but actually someone like Sonny but a woman. Then I wouldn't need to be strong. That is what my parents should have been, but they weren't and I had to compensate. The result is the weed overtook the garden. Everything good is in the weed but it kills the life around it.

I guess I should be grateful to be alive. Jensen easily could have killed me. Maybe I would be more grateful to be dead. Maybe the world would be better if I was dead. Salem is definitely better with Jensen dead. Jensen very nearly killed Will.

Oh god. I don't want to think about Will. Will was the equation that invalidated every other theory. I can't understand him and that completely fascinates me. My blackmail plan was brilliant. I probably put together the single worst scenario he could have faced. The only thing that would have been worse would be to make him lose his daughter and have Sonny hate him. Actually, I did have Sonny hating him for awhile. It wasn't that difficult to convince him to keep the secret from Sonny. I should have broken him. Why didn't it break him. Will didn't like me that much before, but after the blackmail. Now he must hate me more than anyone or anything. Why did he save me? Somehow I don't think Will hates anyone. Where does he draw his strength from? His invisible strength. Why did he risk his life to save me? Why did he stay with me and let Sonny leave? It isn't understandable. Maybe he has a blind spot as big as mine. Maybe we're similar. Maybe we are opposites. If we are opposites, there is no question he is light and I am dark. That is why I shouldn't think about Will. He is the problem that doesn't compute. It just blows the processor.

Nick finished his bath and tried to get back to sleep. He may have slept another thirty minutes in the next three hours when he finally gave up and started the day. He was able to find a great apartment not too far from the Horton Town Square. He would move in over the weekend.

Getting the appointment with Dr. Evans was more difficult. He had no success calling in. He was able to track her down as she left the hospital and somehow he convinced her to schedule an initial counseling session for the following week.

With the first two tasks accomplished, he decided to stop by with Gabi's things and was surprised to find her alone (except the sleeping baby) and looking hot. It really wasn't even fair to expect Nick to resist the ease that the situation offered. He was fragile and lonely and he slept better that night after having Gabi again.

A/N: Thanks for actually finishing this chapter! If you have ideas for this story, I would appreciate hearing them.