Forced Perspective

A Haven fanfic

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

Chapter 2 – A Simple Touch

 

 

-x-

 

Nathan and Audrey stood there inside the vault, totally perplexed. By their watches it was obvious that the bank was closed for the night, which meant that the vault wouldn’t open until…

 

“What time do they open on Saturday?” Audrey asked suddenly as she turned towards Nathan, watching his profile – his eyes were closed and his head tilted down. Her breath caught a bit as she watched him before he spoke.

 

“They don’t,” he replied with a heavy sigh before he swung his head around and opened his eyes to regard her seriously.

 

“What?”

 

“Small town.”

 

“So unless they get the vault guy here…”

 

“We’re here till Monday morning.”

 

Audrey sighed and rubbed a temple with her hand. Just when she thought she was getting used to the way of things something happened to remind her she wasn’t in Boston or Miami anymore. Still, there was nothing she could do about it now. What she could do was focus on the case. They obviously had lots of time to figure it out… they could wait out the vault guy by figuring out who broke into the place.

 

She turned around and let her back rest against the metal door of the vault as she considered what to do while they waited. Her eyes lit on the opposite wall and saw the safety deposit boxes and she realized that no matter what else was going on they still had a job to do. And with them alone in the vault, they’d be uninterrupted as they investigated the break in.

 

“Look, how about we use the time and concentrate on the case while we wait for someone to get us out of here,” she suggested, looking back to him.

 

“Good idea.”

 

Shoving herself off the door with her hands, Audrey moved away from the vault door and walked back towards the rows and rows of boxes inset in the far wall. To take something from a locked box was a special trick, but in Haven there could be any number of possibilities. She just had to go through all of them, logical and illogical for anywhere but Haven until they found their suspect.

 

“Could someone have done a Shadowcat… phased through the vault?” she said aloud, her hand poking at one of the two empty slots.

 

She turned around and saw that Nathan was now facing her, but still stood against the vault door as he looked at her as if she was slightly crazy and she frowned at him.

 

“What? We’ve seen people start fires with their minds and control the weather. How improbably does it sound that someone could reach through the security boxes and just…”

 

“Remove the valuables?” Nathan questioned, trying to see where she was going with the idea.

 

“Why not?”

 

He gave her a half grin and finally moved away from the vault door to move to the center of the room where he pulled out the folding chair butted up against the table and sat down, leaning an elbow on the table as he watched in fascination and mild amusement as she continued her train of thought.

 

“I mean, we’ve seen all kinds of powers… why not one that the troubled person could use to steal?”

 

“We still have to prove it Parker,” he pointed out helpfully, trying to stifle a grin at her.

 

She shook her head slightly in agitation and leaned against the wall of safe deposit boxes and regarded Nathan as she ran a hand across her face before looking back at him with a challenge in her eyes. “What do you think we’re dealing with then?”

 

He shrugged, still trying to work it out in his head. Audrey was usually good at coming up with all the different ‘weird’ theories without much help from him.

 

Still, there were other possibilities to consider.

 

“Maybe the bank manager emptied the boxes?” Audrey suggested out of the blue, almost as if she could read his mind, which scared him more than he wanted to admit.

 

“No, he’s an honest man.”

 

“Okay then… well…”

 

They looked around the empty vault and tried to come up with more ideas. Audrey began to pace back and forth across the small space in front of Nathan and he watched her intently.

 

“Inside job? One of the tellers?”

 

“They have cameras,” Nathan reminded her, shooting down another proposed solution.

 

“Again, invisible person?” she suggested again, circling back to her original theory.

 

“They’d still need the key from the box owner.”

 

She stopped in her tracks and sighed again, unable to believe that solving what should be an impossible crime was so… impossible. In Haven the impossible was probable so there had to be a reasonable… for Haven anyway, solution to this.

 

While she mentally cursed and tried to come up with something to make sense of all of this the room went quiet again. Audrey was normally content with the quiet when they were working on a case, but that was usually when they were outside, or in Nathan’s truck or in the station or anywhere that there was some other kind of noise. The silence in the vault made the stress of not being able to solve the stupid case even more frustrating, and Nathan wasn’t helping by just sitting there and staring at her.

 

In the silence she started to pace again, she tried to force her brain to empty, hoping that starting fresh on the situation would help come up with something. Instead as she kept moving and tried to not think of anything she couldn’t help but focus on the sound of Nathan breathing in the enclosed room. And as she thought of Nathan she dimly recalled Duke’s comment before he’d left the bank. He seemed to think Nathan needed to tell her something about what happened at the hotel at Carpenter’s Knot that she didn’t know about…

 

Curiosity spurring her, and needing a break in the non-moving investigation, she decided to broach the subject.

 

“So, what was Duke on about before he left?” she asked absently as she stopped her pacing and turned to regard him before moving to the center of the room where she perched on the table and looked at him questioningly.

 

“Nothing.”

 

His non answer made Audrey ponder the whole thing silently for quite a while. There were times that she’d let that kind of answer go, more often than not knowing that it wasn’t a big deal.  However there were times that something stuck with her that she just couldn’t leave alone. Her prying into Nathan’s love life had been one such instance, and she thought he’d learned that just answering her honestly was the better part of valor in that instance, rather than continuing to try and sidetrack or stonewall her.

 

Yet it seemed that for whatever reason he was trying the latter on her now. Why, she wasn’t certain, but for now she’d let him slide… she could ask him again later. Now though as the silence continued to stretch between them she started to feel… uncomfortable and she finally moved from her seat on the table and resumed her search for something helpful to the case.

 

“Did you see anything to indicate the boxes were tampered with?” she asked distractedly as she started another round of walking around the metal walls.

 

“Nope.”

 

“Great...”

 

Nathan had gotten up from his chair and returned to the vault door and was looking at it intently. Audrey watched what looked like tension in his shoulders as he crossed his arms over his chest, closing in on himself. It frustrated her… she really could use his input rather than one word type answers. It was almost as if he was uncomfortable in the space…

 

“You aren’t claustrophobic, are you?” she suddenly asked, wondering if that was the secret Duke was mentioning.

 

“No. Just… would rather be out of here,” he replied stoically, his eyes continuing to stare at the door as he pointedly didn’t look her way when he replied.

 

If the intensity of his stare could have burned a hole in the vault door, she was certain that there would have been a hole big enough for them to have walked through after mere minutes of his glare at the confining metal door she mused with aggravation, and then turned back to focus on the case again, staring at the intact boxes around the missing ones.

 

“So, can we get a warrant to get the other boxes around Duke’s and Mr. Harrison’s opened? See if they’re missing their items too?”

 

“After we get out of here.”

 

She nodded, feeling like they were at a road block… again. They couldn’t open the vault door or the boxes and there was nothing in the vault that could tell them what happened.

 

With a sigh she went and sat on the floor of the vault in a corner and pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. Sure, they could keep talking about the case but she was running out of ideas. And Nathan didn’t seem talkative where he was by the vault door, staring a ‘virtual’ hole into it.

 

While she sat there, she kept returning back to Duke’s words before he’d left and Nathan’s non answer when she’d asked about it. With nothing else to do and the silence starting to feel… oppressive, she started turning over in her mind what little she remembered of the birthday surprise trip to Carpenter’s Knot. Duke had gotten her there and then everyone surprised her. There was some conversation before she’d gone to her room and encountered Vaughan Carpenter and then she was unconscious. The next thing she remembered was waking up to see Nathan holding her hands and crying.

 

She mind skidded to a halt with that memory. Why had he been crying? What had happened…

 

“Nathan, seriously, what happened at Carpenter’s Knot?” she asked with a little worry evident in her voice.

 

“You know… I shot the chameleon and Dr. Carr died…” he stated, his voice sounding… disquieted as he replied to her question without turning around.

 

That answer didn’t make sense… and the fact he wouldn’t even look at her when he was talking to her made her more concerned than before.

 

“But I wasn’t there the whole time. What happened that I missed?”

 

Nathan continued to stare directly at the wall in front of him. He couldn’t look at her while he danced around this. If she looked in his eyes, watched his face as all the emotions flooded back with the memories that her questions, that damn Duke had dredged up with just mentioning Carpenter’s Knot had caused, he was sure that *all* his secrets would be out, not just the one that would be easiest to admit.

 

“Nathan…” she pressed, her voice a mixture of confusion and concern.

 

He took in a deep breath and ran a hand over his hair. He didn’t want to lie to her… and he knew that if he didn’t say something to alleviate the worry he could hear in her voice that he might end up caving and tell her more than just answering part of her question… enough that would close the matter and letting him keep his other secrets for now. All he had to do was just carefully answer what little he needed to until she was satisfied. That would be easy, wouldn’t it, he thought to himself.

 

He took a deep breath and then let his arms fall to his sides as he closed his eyes and tried to word things in a way that would explain what had happened… without telling her everything.

 

“I thought you were dead…” he started and then paused, leaving Audrey sitting there looking at his back with a perplexed expression on her face.

 

“But I wasn’t…” she reminded him, prompting him with her voice to continue.

 

“I know.”

 

He was quiet once again, his hand running along the metal vault door, feeling nothing. How the hell was he supposed to live without feeling when he knew he could feel something… someone he thought. Why couldn’t he just tell her…

 

“You haven’t told me anything I didn’t already know Nathan,” she remarked as the silence dragged on once more as she forced herself up off the floor to sit on the end of the table in the middle of the room to stare directly at his back.

 

He could tell she’d moved and could almost feel her eyes boring into his back. His head and heart and gut were all warring with one another as he fought the impulse of his heart to just turn and tell her everything… but his head took charge, forcing him to just tell her the bits and pieces that she… that he needed her to know.

 

“When it told me that you were still alive I was… relieved. You remember waking up in the trunk… I… we were all so relieved you were okay.”

 

“And I appreciate that, but I get the impression that something went on that Duke knows about that made him push me to ask you about this that you aren’t saying, and its not like we have much else to do in here,” she remarked as she waved a hand at their accommodations even though he couldn’t see her do it.

 

“Parker… I…”

 

They let the silence fill the room once again, the air almost feeling emotionally charged as he inched all that closer to the edge of the cliff. He was still so damn scared to tell her… but she wasn’t backing down… she had heard the ache and apprehension in his voice each time he said a little more about what happened. She was his partner… she needed to know.

 

“Look, whatever this is, whatever happened, I’m still your friend and your partner. I’m not going anywhere,” she said as she got off the table and then walked to his side, placing her hand on top of his where he had it pressed against the vault door.

 

The suddenness of her touch on his flesh made Nathan flinch and she whipped her head up to look at him, her eyes wide and questioning.

 

“Nathan?”

 

He was quiet for a long while and she let him simply stare at her hand on his, the little of his face she could see seemed filled with… wonder? She was desperate to know what the hell was going on but he deserved the chance to tell her what was going on at his own pace… or at least until the bank manager could get someone to let them out of the vault.

 

“You asked me how I knew the chameleon wasn’t you…” he suddenly said, his voice subdued.

 

“Yes… you said that you just… knew,” she replied, the question obvious in her tone.

 

“That wasn’t the truth.”

 

She stared at his face in profile; his eyes were now closed and his forehead nearly pressed against the cool steel. She could tell by his body language that this was important… what he needed to tell her and he was trying to find a way to get it out, so she gently prompted him.

 

“How did you know then?”

 

“I knew it wasn’t you because I couldn’t feel it.”

 

Audrey looked at him puzzled before he turned towards her, his eyes filled with emotions that rocked her to her core. He pulled his hand from the vault door and twisted it to catch hers in his grasp and as raised it he squeezed her fingers tightly.

 

“And I can feel you.”

 

His words didn’t quite register for her, and she stood and looked intently at his face, watching him fight the small smile that was trying to appear, how his eyes were staring at her so meaningfully. Then there was the way his hand held hers, his fingers clutching her hand as if it was a lifeline… and then it all started to come together in her head and her mouth fell open slightly as she finally comprehended what he was saying… what this meant.

 

“You…” she started, still stunned at the revelation he was imparting before she trailed off, unsure how to proceed.

 

“I can feel you,” he stated again, a half smile now filling his face as he finally told her the truth and reveled in the ability to freely touch her like this and show how her touch affected him.

 

“But… just me?”

 

He nodded. This was the easy secret to tell because he’d always known that one day, just like how he’d flinched at the startlingly wonderful touch of her hand tonight he would accidentally do something in the office or out on a case that would have prompted her to figure it out.

 

“How?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

Her eyes continued to stare at him, unable to believe what he was telling her. The man before her who couldn’t feel anything, no pain, no cold, no heat, nothing… could feel her. Something in her chest seemed to… swell at the idea.

 

“When did you know?” she finally asked as she realized they’d stopped talking and Nathan still held her hand tightly, his eyes focused on her face, waiting for her reaction… or more questions.

 

“After Jess,” he replied simply.

 

Audrey nodded, a small smile on her face as she sifted through her memories and recalled the moments when she could have touched him and her eyes widened as she remembered the kiss on his cheek after Jess had left him. He’d had a strange look on his face as he’d gotten into the Bronco afterward… now it made sense.

 

And as she recalled that kiss, she remembered her own feelings; she’d only meant the kiss to be a gesture of friendship but she’d ended up walking away from it feeling… wishful.

 

With the realization that he could feel her touch she started to recall the last several weeks, her mind more closely looking at their interactions, their day to day encounters and recognizing now how his actions and responses had been different.

 

“You’ve been trying to touch me more?” she questioned, stunned and a bit glad as she thought back over their last few cases. “The handshake at the pool…”

 

He gave her a guilty grin and nodded.

 

She stood there and just held his hand, amazed. Then she realized that for Duke to have suggested she ask about all this he had to have known. How did he know before she did?

 

“So… how did Duke find out about… this,” Audrey asked, running her thumb across the back of Nathan’s hand, causing him to shiver minutely.

 

“I slipped up,” he replied with a hint of… self depreciation?

 

She looked at him, her eyes asking him to continue. He sighed and contemplated moving away so he could delay the discussion some more, but that would mean he’d have to move his hand from under hers and he found he didn’t have the willpower to lose that contact now that she knew he could feel her.

 

“When we saw Vanessa… I think he knew I was referring to you…”

 

He trailed off, his mind recalling the words he’d said to Duke, not even thinking that the man would try to figure out whom he was referring to. He should have known better… kept his mouth shut and ignored all the discussion around fate…

 

“What did you say?”

 

“I asked him something about fate…” he offered simply, even though in his mind he could recall the exact words he’d used; at the time he’d been so absorbed and elated at the idea that he could feel someone after so long of feeling nothing he hadn’t realized the import of what he’d said.

 

“That you could feel me,” she offered and he nodded, confirming her words.

 

Audrey stood there and looked at him, trying to play out the conversation in her head that could have prompted Duke of all people to figure out Nathan’s secret. It obviously was something to do with fate and feeling her and he’d said he could only fell her and...

 

A sudden light bulb went off in her head and she stared at him, dazed by the thought even as she questioned internally if she was just reading into things. But maybe...

 

Her hand closed over his a little more, her fingers curling around his even tighter. He watched and felt her hand squeeze around his, the look of fascination in his eyes visible to her before he’d even turned them on her. And she felt her heart do a little flip in her chest as he pinned that astonished gaze on her.

 

“If you had asked me…” she started softly and then swallowed forcefully as she soldiered forward, “I would have told you that it was.”

 

-end 2-

 

So, yeah… one secret out and maybe more to come? Now that they’ve broached this subject, what’s next? Again, reviews are appreciated – they let me know that the story’s working for you and if it’s meeting your N/A needs. ;-) Thanks, Ms. J.