1x01: "Are you gonna murder me?"

Nick Miller was annoyed. Really annoyed. And that was why, for the third morning in a row, he found himself running out in the streets of L.A. with his hood up, underneath which he was wearing an expression that would later be christened 'the turtle face'. For the first time in days, maybe even weeks, he had been feeling an emotion other than the urge to cry into a pillow. Oddly enough, he wished that was what he felt at that moment. It felt easier to"feel" if he was being honest with himself.

His new roommate was the newest "problem" in his never-ending list of problems. The loft had a different vibe to it now, and Nick was indecisive about whether or not he liked the new vibe.

He could smell the softest touch of vanilla everywhere he went in the loft, even his room. His room was only allowed to smell of beer. The loft also seemed a lot brighter after her arrival, which was odd given how nothing much had changed. He frowned at that, wondering if he was just imagining that.

What a weird thing to imagine.

And ever since she'd moved in, the number of times he had seen her cry? He'd lost count. At this point, he'd do anything to stop her tears.

He could grudgingly admit at least in his mind that she was a nice person. Unusually nice, in his opinion. She seemed like the sort of person to enjoy life, because really, what sort of a person would venture going home from the airport in just a coat. In a cab. The thought makes him chuckle a little, and he wonders if she actually took the pain to change out of her clothes at the airport.

He also found himself thinking that this Spencer guy was a grade 1 type of douche bag, because why would anyone break the heart of such a good person? She definitely deserved better than that.

Not that he liked her or anything. He still found her as annoying; except that she was nice. So innocent that it was borderline fascinating.

Then why do I dislike her?

Okay, 'dislike' is a strong word. I don't dislike her.

Then what do I feel for….. (Stop that!)

Nothing. I feel nothing.

He decides that she was a nice person who cried a little too much and that made him really uncomfortable. He, like any other person, wasn't too fond of being uncomfortable. So he wished she would stop crying. Because, you know, he didn't want to feel so "uncomfortable."

That's ridiculous.

Scoffed an unwelcome voice in the back of his head, and he found himself back at square one; unable to figure out what exactly was going on. And also back at the apartment, having gone around the block twice already. Sighing, he walked into the building (struggling a bit with the door as always, and therefore, even more irritable than before) and before he entered the loft, he prayed she wouldn't be there.

But of course, she was.

Dirty Dancing was still playing on TV, and she was still lying on the couch in the same flannel pyjamas from last night.

(He wasn't observing these things on purpose, obviously. Flannel always just stood out to him. Duh.)

"No, I don't think so," she was saying into her phone.

Hopeful that she wouldn't notice him and praying that she wouldn't talk to him, he tried to sneak past her, but felt slightly ridiculous. She was his roommate now and how long could he possibly avoid her? And why was he even avoiding her? It was not like she was going to engage in meaningless chatter or anything, she was too busy crying. He paused in his track, frustrated again by the flurry of indecision in his head.

Before he could make a decision, Jess spotted him and craned her neck to ask, "Hey, are you gonna murder me 'cause you're a stranger I met on the internet?"

"Yes, I am," he muttered in response, pausing to give her what he hoped was a glare.

A/N: Watching the premier reminded me of this bit in the first season for some reason, and I realised that he's already supposed to be low-key in love with her at this point i.e. 1x01. He just doesn't know it yet.

And thence this little drabble was born.