Brothers in Arms

A Haven fanfic

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

Chapter 11

 

-x-

 

Once Nathan had gotten Robert Baker, AKA “Agent Howard” settled into a cell and the paperwork started on keeping him there, he’d issued an APB for Dave Teagues, stunning everyone in the station.

 

As it was, the news was making the rounds now that Baker and Dave Teagues had conspired to abduct a police officer, namely Audrey. Audrey had given her statement about her kidnapping from being tasered by Baker through her rescue by Nathan and Duke, providing the supporting evidence to issue the warrant for Dave and charge Baker with kidnapping and conspiracy.

 

Once that was done there wasn’t much more left to do other than wait for the district attorney to review the charges on Baker and hope that a patrol car saw Dave. As it was Nathan was not looking forward to contacting Vince and telling him the news, but knew he was going to have to follow up with him sooner rather than later, especially after he and Audrey talked.

 

At the thought of her he glanced across their office and watched as Audrey sat at her desk, her head now held in her hands; the stark white of the bandages around her wrists twisting his heart in his chest. A little over two days ago he was heading to her apartment to have pancakes and talk before his world had turned upside down. And while in those intervening hours he’d learned more than he’d imagined, seeing her here and safe just reminded him of what he’d been looking forward to earlier… simply having dinner with Audrey, learning more about Lucy Ripley and maybe, just maybe defining this thing between them where they were more than partners.

 

Of course now there was so much more to discuss…

 

Standing up he moved to her desk and leaned over, his hand reaching out and touching her shoulder, the bare skin cool under his palm and his breath caught briefly at the awe-inspiring feel of her skin under his. Her eyes swung up to catch his and she found her mouth going dry at the intense, loving look she caught in his dark blue eyes.

 

“It’s getting late… how about we head out?” Nathan asked simply, his thumb brushing against her shoulder unconsciously.

 

“Drive me home?” she asked, the straight forward question wrenching Nathan’s already overtaxed emotions.

 

“You sure you want to go back to your apartment? I mean…”

 

The concern in his voice was obvious to Audrey, and for as much as she appreciated it, she wasn’t the shrinking violet that would just run and hide from the bad in life. She wanted to go home, face everything and maybe get some real sleep for the first time in nearly two days.

 

“No… I… can you take me home please?”

 

As much as he wanted to just take her to his house and keep her from the memories that going back to her apartment might bring he knew that the emotions of her abduction were going to catch up with her eventually. And if it was going to be now, the least he could do was be there for her if she needed him. All he really wanted was to know that she was safe… and being there with her would allow him know she was all right.

 

“Okay…” he acquiesced softly as he eased his hand from her shoulder reluctantly, “I… let’s go.”

 

Nathan backed up to allow her to stand and they gathered what little they’d brought with them before heading out of the station. Crossing the parking lot to get to the Bronco they both noted the sun beginning to set and with it the chill that had seeped into Audrey’s flesh did so once again, causing her to rub her hands over her bare arms briefly.

 

Opening his door on the truck Nathan watched Audrey climb in on the other side, her exposed flesh sporting gooseflesh. He again reached in the back seat and pulled out his jacket and handed it to her as he climbed in. She gave him a look but took it from him and slid her arms into the suit coat, the fabric enveloping her in sudden warmth as well as his smell.

 

Turning over the engine Nathan pulled the Bronco out of the lot and headed for the Gull. As he drove he focused on the road, not wanting to let his mind replay any of the last day or fantasize about what might come next for them. In the passenger seat Audrey allowed herself the opportunity to watch Nathan in profile while he kept his eyes on the road, her thoughts a jumble as they got closer to her place and with the privacy it would bring, they could finally talk about everything that they’d been unable to share or express.

 

It wasn’t long before they arrived at the Gull; the evening crowd was in full swing as night had fallen and for a weekend the place was somewhat subdued. Nathan got out of the truck and smelled the scent of food wafting through the air from the kitchen and realized it have been quite a while since he’d eaten anything, and he glanced at Audrey, figuring the same probably could be said for her as well, if not more so.

 

“How about some food? I can go in and ask about some take out?” he asked as he closed his door behind him.

 

“That sounds… good.”

 

Nathan nodded and they walked to the doorway of the Gull. Stepping inside he waved down Eileen, one of Duke’s waitresses and asked for two burgers with fries and wrote down his cell phone number on her order pad for her to call him when they were ready to pick up while Audrey stood in the doorway. Once she’d taken the order she turned and walked to the kitchen leaving Nathan to return to where Audrey still stood, within the doorway, still safe and sound.

 

“They’ll call. Let’s go upstairs.”

 

She gave him a tight smile before she turned away from the door to the Gull and headed to the staircase for her apartment above. The fact that Nathan had ordered them dinner, expecting them to be together for a while made her feel relaxed and surprisingly happy. And when normally she would have felt that he was hovering and worrying too much she now found herself not upset at all by the fact that he wanted to be there for her and with her.

 

In fact, given everything she’d been through she really wasn’t looking forward to either the dark or being alone right now. And as she thought on it harder she realized that she wouldn’t mind Nathan staying longer than just to have dinner and talk…

 

Together they moved to the stairs, Nathan following her up and then they entered the French doors of her apartment. Her hand hit the light switch and he heard her gasp as she saw the mess that Baker had left behind in his attempt to frame Duke and send him on the path to rescue Audrey before Dave could kill her.

 

“Sorry…” Nathan apologized as he walked into her apartment a few steps behind her, realizing what she was seeing, “I was going to clean it up…”

 

He quickly moved around her and attempted to block her from seeing the worst of it, but she kept moving, working her self around him enough to take in the full scene. Her eyes went wide and she swung her head to look at Nathan as she absorbed the expression on his face and the look of pain in his eyes.

 

“This is what you found when you came to meet me for dinner?” she asked, he voice soft and small.

 

He nodded, his hands moving without input from his brain as he stepped away from her to right the chair at the dining table and then going to close the open cabinets. He didn’t think he could look her in the eyes right now, knowing that all she’d see would be the fear and obsession that he had felt for the last 36 hours as he’d searched for her.

 

Suddenly her hand fell on his bare lower arm and he turned to face her, his expression open and curious before his eyes met hers and he felt his breath catch. He could see the look of sadness in her face as she looked up at him, realizing fully just what Nathan must have gone though after she’d been abducted.

 

“I can’t imagine what it was like to see this, and for me to be just… gone.”

 

His eyes dropped and slid away from her but she had seen everything he’d tried to hide within them before he’d looked away. And she knew that expression; had probably worn something similar when she’d stood in the unfinished remains of the Everwood resort as she had bartered with Cornell and his copy to rescue Nathan from them.

 

“Come on, let’s sit down.”

 

Nathan let her guide him to sit on the couch. She settled him beside her and turned to face him. She knew what had happened to her, but whatever Nathan had been through in his hunt to save her she needed to understand what it had been. Her hand moved to rest on his bare wrist and his eyes gravitated to meet hers.

 

“So, what exactly happened while I was gone, and how did you and Duke of all people end up working together?”

 

“It’s a long story.”

 

Audrey gave him a look and he knew that he was going to have to explain. She was nothing if not tenacious when she set her mind to find out the truth. It was what had kept her here all this time…

 

“You were there and heard how Baker explained he was setting up Duke,” he started, focusing her on what she already knew.

 

“Yeah… I didn’t understand that.”

 

“When I walked in here,” Nathan said, his eyes glancing at the table and kitchen, “I found Duke’s whistle on the floor… he’d left it here to send me after him.”

 

“You thought he…”

 

Nathan looked away, still smarting from the fact that he’d been played. And how he’d nearly done something as stupid as shooting Duke when he, Duke and Audrey had just dealt with the spirits of the Rev and Simon Crocker and Duke had flat out told them that he wasn’t going to hurt Audrey. But at the time it was so easy to believe…

 

“Yeah. My mind wasn’t exactly in a logical place at the time.”

 

Suddenly Nathan’s cell phone rang and he dug in his pocket to get it. Answering it he nodded and then hung up.

 

“That was the Gull… our dinner’s ready. I’ll be right back.”

 

Before Audrey could even utter a reply he was up from the couch and headed out the door. He quickly ran down the stairs, went to the bar and paid for the burgers before heading back up with their meal. When he reached the French doors he had an unexpected spike of fear course through him as he recalled the last time he’d stood there expecting to have dinner with Audrey and the anxiety that she might be gone once again flooded over him. He pushed the one door open to find Audrey setting her kitchen table, having removed his jacket and wearing a soft, warm looking sweater. Her eyes looked up and she smiled and Nathan’s unease evaporated under more pleasant feelings at the sight of her there in front of him.

 

“Food’s here,” he announced unneeded as he held the bag in front of him.

 

“Good… I’ll get some beer?”

 

Nathan nodded and she went to the fridge and came back with three bottles, two of beer and one of ketchup. She came and sat at the table as he opened the bag and pulled out the take out containers, placing one at her place and one at his own.

 

Sitting as well, Nathan took a swig of the beer before starting in on the food. At the first bite he suddenly realized just how hungry he was and started devouring it. Across from him he saw Audrey do the same. If he hadn’t eaten in what probably was nearly twelve hours, she had probably gone closer to 36 without a meal.

 

Slowly they began to finish their food, meaning that the conversation that eating had delayed now could no longer be put off.

 

“So, what happened to you while I was missing that you haven’t told me?” she said finally before taking a long pull from what was left of her drink, washing down the last of her meal and injecting a little more liquid courage to finally get to the heart of the matter as to what was bothering him.

 

He sighed and rubbed his palm along the back of his neck, trying to figure out where to start. There was so much that had happened, so much that he and Duke had learned that he needed to share with her he was a little worried he’d overwhelm her. It had overwhelmed him and he’d had nearly a day to digest it all… but she needed to know.

 

“While you were gone, we… Duke and I learned some things. Things that might answer a lot of the questions you’ve had...”

 

With that he reached across the table and put his hand on hers. The connection there was just like before; he could feel her yet now he knew how much more it really meant. That he was supposed to be her anchor, the man she loved that would keep her in Haven. And he wanted that more than anything… but he still wasn’t 100% sure where her heart lay, no matter what Vince might have said.

 

Yet when she turned her hand under his so she could curl his hand within her grasp, holding it tightly he let himself believe that Vince was right and she did love him as much as he loved her.

 

“Okay, hit me.”

 

With a sigh, Nathan started to divulge what he’d found out. Everything from the theft of the weapons box, to learning from Vince about Audrey being Lucy, how Duke could cure people without killing them, and finally, although somewhat reluctantly, how Vince believed that what they felt for one another was the key to Audrey staying and how that seemed to be supported by the Latin inscription on Duke’s heirloom box.

 

Audrey had listened to Nathan, her eyes wide and mouth agape, tons of questions filling her head but going unspoken as she tried to just let Nathan talk. Each new revelation slowly sunk in, making her realize that in just a day, with her kidnapping as the catalyst they’d learned more than they had in months of them searching. The little she’d found out from Lucy Ripley was like a grain of sand in the sand castle of information that Nathan had gained. And from Vince of all people…

 

“And Vince told you all this?” she finally asked once Nathan seemed to have finished.

 

“Yeah. He’s… obviously he and Dave have different loyalties now,” Nathan replied, his hand clenching around hers as he thought of Dave’s betrayal and deadly plans for Audrey.

 

“I want to talk to Vince. I need to know if there’s more he can tell us about the troubles and me and… everything.”

 

Nathan nodded knowing that at the time he hadn’t asked many questions about what Vince knew and how, but now that Audrey was safe once again they needed to start figuring out what they needed to do to protect Haven and help the troubled. He looked at her, seeing the dark circles forming under her eyes at the late hour and realized he needed to table everything for now… everything else they might be feeling until later. Slowly he stood up and moved to Audrey’s side, prompting her to look up at him from her chair.

 

“We will. In the morning I’ll take you there. For now, you need some sleep.”

 

While normally she would be stubborn and argue with him, she knew he was right and she really didn’t want to fight. In fact that was really the last thing she wanted. After Nathan had revealed Vince’s theory about how their feelings played into everything in Haven she had been focused on the fact that she’d already made her mind up about them before she’d even known that it was somehow… fate.

 

Pushing up from her chair Audrey stood directly in front of him, less than a foot away and she felt her heart beat just a little faster as she gazed at this wonderful, caring man in front of her who wanted nothing more than to take care of her, protect and love her…

 

“What about you?” she questioned quietly as she reached out and caught Nathan’s hand, his eyes sweeping to meet hers as the sensation of feeling rushed through him at her touch.

 

“I’ll stay on the couch… if that’s okay…” he stammered a bit, confused by her question and distracted by her touch.

 

Audrey looked at him with an almost pained expression. While she’d been locked up her heart and her head had finally come to agreement on what she wanted and needed and deserved.

 

And she didn’t want him on the couch.

 

Carefully she pulled him closer to her until there was barely any space between them and Nathan stared at her, his eyes hopefully yet surprised by her actions. He started to move his other hand to her shoulder and then pulled back, but she’d seen the movement and swiftly caught the retreating hand and guided it back towards her body, this time settling it on her waist under the sweater and camisole. At the feel of her skin under his hand he glanced at the place it rested and then back up at her, the astonishment on his face plain to see.

 

She couldn’t help smiling up at him as she felt everything she’d been fighting, all the feelings that she’d only just started to accept coalesced in her all at once as she looked at Nathan.

 

“I had a lot of time to think when I was locked in that closet, wondering if someone, if you would find me in time,” she said simply, her voice a bare whisper as she finally admitted what she’d been realizing in the weeks before both her kidnapping and that impromptu kiss. “There were moments when I thought that Dave or Baker or one of the Rev’s people would just walk in and kill me. And when I thought about it I wasn’t sorry that I didn’t know who I was or that I hadn’t helped more people… I was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to be here… with you.”

 

Nathan found himself dumbstruck. He’d suspected that she’d been afraid for her life, had struggled and fought and contemplated not being rescued in time but hearing her admit that the one thing she would have been the most remorseful about was leaving him alone knocked the air from his lungs.

 

“And I don’t want to have any regrets.”

 

As the words passed her lips Audrey let go of Nathan’s hand as she let both of her hands move to his jaw line, pressing her palms against his flesh. Instinctively Nathan slid his now free hand to mirror the other on her waist. Except for the fact he was actually holding her, the way she held his face in her hands reminded him of when she’d kissed him what seemed like ages ago and he held his breath, wondering if she was considering doing so again.

 

He waited, letting her dictate the pace but she simply stared at him, holding his face before her as she looked at him, her eyes boring into him as if she was searching for some answer or some sign…

 

“Audrey…” he began softly, not wanting to have her pull her hands away but needing to know what she was doing; what she wanted. “What…”

 

The sound of his voice guided her back from where she’d let her mind wander, the possibilities of them having overwhelmed her momentarily. She knew that she needed to say this, so that no matter what else might happen, if somehow she was lost to him again, at least he would know…

 

“I love you and I…”

 

She wasn’t able to finish her sentence before Nathan hastily drew her body flush against his and leaned down to press his lips against hers, finally able to express to her with his actions what he hadn’t been able to do before when he’d been too shocked to respond in time. Now however he was going to show her exactly how he felt, how much she meant to him, how nearly losing her had almost destroyed him.

 

With a single kiss.

 

He put everything he felt into it; passion, longing, devotion, tenderness, caring and love. And unlike him she responded immediately, her fingers grasping his face a little tighter as their lips crashed together with a previously suppressed force and desire.

 

After what seemed too short a time Nathan eased his lips back from Audrey’s, his eyes searching her face to gauge her reaction to his somewhat forceful move. What he found was a brilliant grin on the face of his partner, best friend and what he believed he could now say as well… lover.

 

“So, I guess that’s a…” Audrey began before he cut her off.

 

“I love you too…”

 

She grinned before pulling him down briefly to kiss him gently, showing him how happy his words and actions made her feel with the short, sweet kiss. When she broke away she watched his smile form immediately on his lips and smiled in response.

 

Then she yawned.

 

With that simple act it reminded them both that they were exhausted. He had gotten the impression that she had slept but not well, just like he had. Come morning there was plenty of time for them to not only get more answers to their questions but for them to begin to fully realize this thing between them.

 

“How about we get some sleep?” she suggested, her hands moving from his face to slide down his arms and grab his wrists as she began to pull him with her.

 

Nathan nodded, not realizing just what she had in mind until he found that she had lead him away from the kitchen and towards her bed. His eyes flicked from her to the bed that he’d slept in nearly 24 hours earlier and then returned his gaze back to her. She caught the look and glanced back at the bed before she stared at Nathan once more.

 

“You’ve been in this bed before,’” Audrey remarked humorously as she moved to stand beside it, noting the slightly rumpled covers and Nathan’s… awkwardness at the prospect of sleeping in it with her.

 

“Maybe…” he replied uncommittedly, recalling Duke’s words the day before and fighting a smile.

 

“You’ll tell me later, right?”

 

“Okay…”

 

She gave a sound that might have been an affirmative grunt before she started slipping out of her clothes in front of him. He stared as she slid the pants, shoes and socks off of her, along with her sweater. Standing there in the silk camisole and her underwear he found it hard to breathe.

 

Turning she pulled back the covers and climbed on the bed.

 

“Come on… we both need the sleep and I… I don’t want to sleep alone.”

 

The slight crack of her voice reminded him that for whatever misgivings he might have at sleeping in her bed, with her, she had been through an ordeal, and if his presence beside her was what she wanted…

 

Carefully he put his gun and badge down on a nearby end table before he divested himself of his shoes, socks, pants and shirt, leaving him in a dark pair of boxer shorts and a light grey t-shirt. Holding the covers up in invitation, Nathan joined Audrey on the bed and she drew the blankets down over them.

 

Immediately she curled up next to him, her hand on his chest and her legs pressed against his, her bare skin touching his and nearly overloading him with sensation. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tightly against him and as they both let themselves relax into one another as they closed their eyes, letting the first sound sleep overtake them in days.

 

- End Chapter 11 -