This is another attempt to write something about Nancy and Joe. This idea came to me months ago, and just day before yesterday did the inspiration to write this and post it here strike.

Rated for minor curse words.

Have a good time reading. :)

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters.

Summary: When Nancy thought there would be nothing, Joe thought there would be something. One-shot. Nancy/Joe.


Nancy looked down at her hands, and up at the night sky. She was sitting on a swing, in the back porch of her house. Of her home. But how could she call it that, when the one thing that made it home was going away. This house wasn't going to stay alive anymore – it would become a sibling of those dead buildings that made the wind that had the audacity to surround them whine in melancholy.

Now, she felt as if she was a nuisance herself. Perhaps, she was a part of those rambling buildings lining the borders of many olden places of River Heights. Those buildings which were old, with spider webs concealing their corners, with wood that creaked, creaked, creaked when one walked on the floor.

Sometimes, she felt she had a dead heart; who didn't cry after hearing a news so sad, so bad, so tragic? Yet still, she felt she was losing a part of her – a part of her heart – slowly, a pace discovered to be distressing.

"It feels as if there is nothing to live for."

Her words were only a whisper she had meant for the air to keep secret; however, the unintentional happened, because she heard:


She instinctively turned her neck towards the door, and standing there was Joe. The Hardies had yet to leave – their flight was booked the next day, when they would be going back to New York.

"Er, you aren't asleep," she tried, pretending to not have heard Joe; she pretended to not have said the words hanging in the air.

"No." He shook his head.

"Why?" she attempted to divert his attention from what actually was the matter.

"Don't shift the topic," he said, squinting at her.

"Answer me," she hissed, feeling something bubble inside of her.

I want to be left alone. Let me be. Go away.

But she couldn't ever say that to Joe. Because no matter how much she wanted to push him away, she wanted for him to stand there, ask her, make her hope, because he was possibly the only one who could understand her, though his situation had been entirely contrary to hers.

Rolling his eyes, he said, "Why aren't you asleep?"

Sighing, she looked at the tree in the corner of the yard, and said, "You didn't answer my question."

The wooden floor creaked as Joe walked towards her. He sat down next to her, and the swing swung back and forth. "I wasn't tired. What about you?" His eyes scanned her fatigued form.

She stayed quiet, looking at the tree, which had lost its leaves to the Autumn air.

Feeling his concerned gaze, she thought, What about me? Nothing about me. Right now, I am nothing at best.

Tears sprang up in her eyes, which she dare not blink, fearing her tears might fall. And she didn't want them to fall. "Let's just say, I might have turned into an insomniac."

He stared at her – unsurprised, yet concerned. "Insomniac. Why?" he asked, though he knew the answer.

What – what the hell does he mean? She turned her head swiftly to look at him, and said, "Why? You're asking me, why? You should know why!" Her eyes flashed and her chest started to hurt.

He smiled at her forlornly, feeling her defeatedness.

But Nancy didn't catch that. He smiled at her. He God damn smiled at her! How …


Her hand stung with the ferocity with which she had hit him across his arm. He looked at her, his hand covering the prickling region. Disbelief coated his face as he stared. That look worked wonders.

Feeling her anger building, she said, "You heartless beast! You – you … Damn you!" Raising her hands, she pushed him – tried to push him, two times, three times, with a force turning weaker and weaker with each attempt that followed. "You're asking me why I am this way? Then you smile, just like that. Smiling is forbidden near me, you hear! Don't smile! This isn't the time to smile; there's nothing," she said, her voice breaking with each word that left her mouth, "nothing to smile about. Ple-ease Sto– Stop."

Looking down at her hands, she felt the anger, frustration melt inside of her, replacing hopelessness, mournfulness. She nodded slowly – so slowly, so lightly that it didn't even appear that her head had moved. Taking a shuddering breath in, she said, "Go, Joe; you don't understand," though, initially, when he had come for her, she had felt he did know what she was going through. Now, things looked different to her.

"I do," a whisper reached her. "I do understand," Joe repeated, his voice loud enough, clear enough.

A laugh escaped her, and she looked at him, smiling, and asked, "You do, now? That wouldn't have been a surprise a minute ago, but, unluckily for you, it sounds like a lie to me right now. And you know why? Because you don't know how it feels; it feels as if … as if everything has been ripped from you. You"she pointed a finger at him – "you think it is easy? You think it is easy to feel unwanted, to feel without a purpose." She turned her eyes away, so that he wouldn't see what was inside, because he might spot what was raging inside them. "Do you know what it feels like to be dead, yet still … undead?"

She looked at him once more, waiting for him to say, just say … But he didn't.

"You don't then? I hoped you did," she whispered. She felt lonely … So utterly alone. Nothing was there – no one was there to understand her: everybody was there to sympathize with her. The one who could understand her was fighting a war of will himself … She closed her eyes, and her chest started hurting with longing. A few tears ran down her cheeks – they were tears of longing, tears of sadness, tears of loneliness, and tears of … She couldn't even trace what she felt, because she was feeling too much.

Joe couldn't help seeing her dejection. He didn't know how he could make her feel better: hold her hand, hug her, cry with her? Hesitantly, he with his large hand encased her small one, squeezing it. He tried to tell her he was there for her, through this act, but he felt words were required: "Nancy, I have felt that way, too, y'know, though what happened with me was different." He paused, deciding what to say next. After a long silence, he continued, "Nan, you're lucky, 'cause there's still hope – don't lose it when you need it."

She looked up, her eyes pleading with him that everything was untrue, that there was still hope. "I … But how do you hope, when you're dying?"

He raised his eyebrows, grabbed her chin with his hand gently, and, with determination set in his eyes, stated, "You, Nancy Drew, are not dying."

But why did her heart beat a little too erratically when she thought about him? Then why did she feel, when she would close her eyes to sleep, that her heart was dropping, that she was being pulled in darkness, that she was dying, that she was never going to come out?

"You are just dealing with pain." He looked her in the eyes, and nodded quickly. "It's difficult, but it passes – the feeling … passes."

Her bottom lip pulled out and trembled, and in the inside of her nose, she felt a force exerting itself, and it made her feel as if her nose would block, and tears came up in her eyes, and she felt she couldn't breathe because her throat was not letting the air in, and she felt as if her chest wanted to burst (burst out with something).

When she tried to inhale, she sobbed, but still managed to say, "Will he ever come back? … I lost Mom when I was three, and I– … I don't wanna lose Dad when I'm twenty."

He gently rubbed a thumb across her chin, and leaned forward to put his forehead against hers, causing her to be surprised at his boldness. He could lie to her, but it would only bring false hope. He contemplated his words, before saying them. Frowning, he finally said, "I don't know – he might get all right, or he might not get fine. We can only pray. But please, Nan, don't lose hope. Please."

It was curious seeing Joe begging to her, and she couldn't help but feel her heart beat a little faster than normal – and it wasn't because of Dad, she knew. It was because of his unguarded concern for her (and his breath on her face). "Thanks, Joe," she whispered back, smiling a small smile, feeling herself calm down a little.

He smiled in return. "Thank me when you'll be fine." His minty breath fanned her face.

But she didn't think she would – for that, she was sorry and pitiful for herself. And whatever that wanted to burst forth from inside of her, was raging now. "That would take some time," she choked out.

"But you'll be fine."

"I hope," she said, applying pressure to their pressed brows as she leaned a little closer, making Joe smile again. She moved away, much to Joe's disappointment, and lay her head against his chest. Closing her eyes, she let some tears fall, and set herself free, as she let herself sob to the fullest.

He sighed, and put an arm around her shoulders, squeezing them. He lowered his head to kiss hers, inhaling the sweet scent of her hair.

As her tears soaked his shirt, and made him weak – in heart, in mind – he replied, "Me, too."

Did I politely manage to confuse you? If I did, then here are some explanations: Carson was suffering with cancer, and that's why Nancy was feeling useless, since she couldn't do anything about it; the Hardies were the Drews' family friends here, so they came to visit Carson; Joe understood Nancy because of Iola's death; Nancy wasn't dying, she was just feeling that way; Nancy and Joe were open about their affection because they were emotionally charged at the time, and they weren't afraid to display their feelings. Anything left? I think not.

Anyway, I hope you liked this. Forgive me for any grammatical errors, or any other mistakes; point them out in your review, if you found any.

Thanks for reading. Do not forget to leave a review. Share your opinions openly about this one-shot. As I mentioned, albeit a little indirectly, constructive criticism is welcome.

God bless. :)