This is the first Secret Santa fic I'm putting out! The next chapter will be up the day after! It isn't technically midnight of 24th December like I'd initially said, but I couldn't resist! Hope you enjoy!
Prompt: Sick Jess + First Time They Get Together
Set in Season 1
The "What happened last night?" followed by a "Nothing" + secret smile kills me. I love it so much. So here's a little - well, not "little" - something based on that. I must confess I cried while writing this because I had to see the episode a few times, and I got really sad about the show ending. I sobbed at my laptop, "This show can't end!" And I've also done some dialogue-flipping from QHC. Hope you enjoy!
It had been a rough day for all of them. Jess was worried out of her mind, as well as scared, as she watched Nick, frowning into the distance. Nick was not okay, no, he may not be okay. They had to wait until the next morning to make sure that everything was fine with him, but right now, he was not okay at all. She felt guilty at the role she might've played in that. She would never be able to forgive herself if something was wrong with him. Which she was sure wasn't.
They would collect the results tomorrow, and everything will be just fine. Nick will be fine. They'd have a great breakfast, laugh off all the scray thoughts in their head and go back home. Everything would go back to normal after that. As she sat on the sand next to him, she had to maintain a calm and collected demeanour, just so he wouldn't freak out as well.
"Jess?" he said quietly "I like ya a lot."
She looked at him surprised at his confession. It made her happy; was it normal to be this happy about something like that? Nick had always been closed off and from her point of view, it had always seemed so annoyed at everything she did. She couldn't remember half of the things they fought over. Why did they even fight? In hindsight, it always seemed stupid, whatever it was that they were fighting about. She would never admit it to anyone, but she secretly enjoyed riling him up and pushing all his buttons. She started to smile a little as she observed the strands of hair sticking to his forehead, and the way his shirt clung to him, dotted with speckles of sand.
"I really do. I'm glad you're around," he finished sincerely.
She felt her cheeks warm up, and she smiled shyly at him, as he chuckled. "I'm not gonna remember any of this in the morning, am I?"
"Most certainly not," she said, doing her best imitation of Daffy Duck. She felt slightly wistful at the thought of that. He really wouldn't remember this in the morning and then they'd probably go back to all the bickering they did.
"Oh no," he said with mock horror.
"We should go home," she said softly, tucking her chin between her knees as she hugged them closer to her chest, making it clear that she didn't really have any intention of moving.
"Yes," he murmured in agreement, not moving, as he turned to look at the shimmering sea.
It was strange how it looked so still in the dark, except for the occasional sifting of the foam as it broke on to the beach. The waters were unnerving, but also had an odd sense of inconsistent rhythm that was soothing him. It felt like the other end of the chaos spectrun that he was currently muddled in.
"Let's go home."
When neither of them moved, Jess chuckled softly and scooted slightly closer to Nick. He looked over at her and gave her a small smile, inching his hand towards hers, their fingers brushing lightly They sat in silence, and Jess watched the waves as they rose and fell in the dark. The ink black water dotted with white was mesmerizing, and she felt like she could be lulled to sleep right there. As a big wave crashed, she tensed in anticipation of the cold breeze of air that would hit her, and involuntarily let out a shiver when it did. She felt Nick's arms go around her fleetingly and she tensed ever so slightly, wondering what he was doing. Realizing he had draped Winston's coat around her, she smiled at him gratefully. Her tolerance for cold was quite low; she was always the coldest among her friends.
Sensing Nick's gaze on her, turned her face to him, now laying her cheek against her knee. "What?" she asked.
Nick laughed sheepishly at being caught and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Nothing, I- I was just... thinking..."
"Oh? About what?" she asked, gently caressing his fingers that were still barely grazing hers in the sand.
He turned to look at her seriously, cocking his head as he did so. He looked a little amused and confused at the same time. And maybe slightly awestruck. "I'm drunk..." he started, slowly.
"Yes, I'm aware." Jess chuckled. "And..?"
"I want to kiss you," he said, sounding a little surprised at himself.
Jess's breath caught in her throat and she sat up straight, now staring at him wide-eyed. "You what?"
"I do," he said. "I really do want to kiss you," he repeated, sincerely.
She moved closer to him, leaning into his face slightly. His face was slightly turned towards hers as she leaned in, her lips barely an inch away from his cheek. "Then why don't you?" she whispered softly, her eyes on his as he looked down at her.
He drew back from her, not looking away from her face. Then, he shook his head at her, as if trying to shake away the thoughts swirling through his head. "Not like this," he said.
"What?" she asked, surprised. "What do you mean?"
He shook his head at her again and leaned forward to kiss her cheek, making her gasp softly as her fingers automatically found the spot where he had kissed her. "I won't remember it in the morning," he murmured, turning his gaze back to the ocean.
"I'll remind you, I promise," she whispered, worrying her lower lip, hyperaware of the warm spot on her cheek that she was still touching lightly. Then she tucked her chin between her knees again and at his face for a few moments before moving her hand to rest on top of his. "And for the record, I like you too. I really do."
He didn't look at her, but as he continued to look at the ocean, he smiled in acknowledgement of what she said, bowing his head slightly. Tonight, there was a certain softness to him that made her heart melt. There was still the edge of what was to come the next day, but he seemed oddly at ease. Admittedly, he was drunk, but the mellow warmth that he seemed to be radiating was strangely comforting.
She found herself blushing at how he had looked at her when he'd said he wanted to kiss her. And it had also taken her by surprise that she wanted him to. She laughed inwardly, not oblivious to the absurdity of the situation. Who would've thought that he, Nick Miller, would want to kiss her, Jessica Day? Well, Cece seemed to have caught onto that long ago, she thought amusedly.
Her eyes flickered over to where Schmidt and Cece were sitting, talking in low voices. Jess hoped Cece was doing okay with all this, given how her father had passed away. But as she watched, she realized that Cece had a grudging, but stupid smile on her face.
Her bestfriend was in it deep, wasn't she? As she watched, Cece suddenly met her eyes over Schmidt's shoulder, and gave her a small smile. With a subtle nod, Cece raised her eyebrows towards Nick, mouthing How is he doing?, to which Jess gave her a thumbs up, making sure her hand stayed at her knee's level in an attempt to be inconspicuous as she did so. Cece gave her a knowing smile, and turned back to Schmidt, feigning an expression of annoyance.
She returned her gaze to the sea and in a few moments, felt her eyes prick with sleep. She yawned slightly and tucked her forehead between her knees. She felt Nick's arm go around her shoulder and she stopped breathing. "We should really go home now," he murmured.
Turning to look at him, she gave him a smile. "No. This is nice."
After a few minutes, Jess found herself lying on the sand, curled to one side, as sleep got the better of her. Nick had started to say again that they should go home, but Jess had insisted that they stay. Falling asleep to the sound of the sea didn't seem like such a bad idea. Besides, there was something about this night that she wanted to cherish; if she had it her way, she wanted to stay awake the whole night and watch the sunrise as well. Tomorrow was filled with promises and at the thought of that, she felt worry seep into her again.
Nick will be just fine, right? It'ss just one of those moments that life throws your way to give you a scare of sorts. Right?
She sighed softly as she stared at the grains of sand that were now at her eye level. The moonlight bouncing off of them made it look like she was lying in a sea of glitter. She kept reassuring herself that everything would be fine tomorrow and that once they collect the test results, Nick would find out that everything was fine, that Nick was fine. And then, things could go back to normal. Or as normal as they could be after tonight.
I really do want to kiss you.
She knew he probably wouldn't remember that, but she'd promised to remind him. Jessica Day took her promises very seriously (she also wanted to kiss Nick Miller, but that was a different matter altogether). As she fell closer to falling asleep, she couldn't help but worry about how she could possibly remind him without turning that into an awkward conversation.
What if it was nothing more than a fleeting attraction?
So what. I mean... it's not like I have a crush on him or something, right?
If he kissed her tomorrow, fine. Great. Good.
If he didn't... well. Fine. Great. Good.