A/N: This is only because I adore Nick with little kids and I wanted to see more of it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
In life, there is one thing Jess has learned to expect. Everything that you are expecting to happen, will not happen. Most of the time, the complete opposite will happen.
For example, when Huxley was taking extra time this morning in getting ready for school, Jess expected it was because he didn't want to go to school. Or when Jess checked his forehead right before they walked out the door, Jess expected he felt warm because he insisted on wearing flannel that day. And when the elevator doors opened, Jess expected to give her neighbor a polite nod as he walked out of the elevator and she walked in with Huxley.
Was that the case? No. Oh, it was so far from the truth, Jess would've laughed if it wasn't for the horrified look on her neighbor's face.
"I work in a damn bar! Do you understand?! A damn bar and this never happens to me!"
Jess stared at him with her wide eyes and covered Huxley's ears. "Language!" she hissed.
He threw his hands in the air. "Your kid just got his sick all over me and you're concerned about me yelling damn?!"
Jess ignored him as she checked Huxley's forehead again. It felt warmer than it did earlier. Her phone began ringing and Jess muttered a cure under her breath.
And of course, it was followed by a laugh from the man still standing there. "And you're concerned that I'm going to give the kid a sailor mouth?"
Jess glared at him, ignoring the phone and placing her hands on Huxley's shoulders. "Alright, I'm sorry for what happened. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
He shook his head and looked down at his pants. "Now I have to actually wash these," he grumbled.
"I can wash them for you," Jess offered. "I'm already going to miss work, might as well add one more thing to my list of things I didn't plan,"
He looked back up with a frown. "Are you serious?"
Jess shrugged. "I'm kind of a pro at getting vomit stains out,"
He rolled his eyes stared up at the ceiling for a moment, before looking back down at her. "Fine. You can wash my pants."
"Perfect, let me get this guy settled back in bed and I will get to the washing of your pants," Jess said, ushering Huxley back down the hallway.
Schmidt was finishing up his coffee when Nick walked in. Schmidt was about to say good morning, but Nick slammed the door and kept walking to his room. He frowned, glancing at Winston.
Winston was shaking his head, looking down at his bowl of oatmeal. "I think it was a rough night at the bar. He's got vomit all over his pants,"
"It's his own fault. He had so much potential, but he just had to drop out of law school. He says he's the least emotional man there is, but that's a lie! Why did he drop out? Because of a girl," Schmidt ranted.
"Aw, just leave him alone. Nick's a grown man who can work wherever he wants to. Besides, we get free drinks after closing,"
"Winston, we're not in college anymore. How often are we actually at the bar after closing?"
Nick came back out before Winston could answer. He changed into sweat pants and carried his soiled pants.
"Uh, Nick, where are you going?" Schmidt asked.
"To get the pants washed," Nick grumbled, stopping at the door.
"We have a washer here that works perfectly fine,"
"Yeah, but we don't have detergent,"
Winston furrowed his brows. "We have a huge bottle of Tide. And I know because I just bought it last week. There ain't no way Schmidt's already gone through the whole thing,"
"Please, Winston, I use my own detergent. I can't wash my deluxe sheets with just any detergent,"
"Point is, we have some. So where are you taking those pants?"
"Wait, are you talking about that huge orange bottle? That's detergent?"
"…yes, it is,"
"Huh, that makes sense now,"
Schmidt pinched the bridge of his nose, not wanting to know what was just illuminated for Nick. "So again, why are you taking those pants somewhere else to get washed?"
"Because it was the neighbor's kid that threw up all over me, so she's going to wash them,"
"Wait, the neighbor in Mrs. Beverley's old place?" Winston asked.
"I wonder how they managed to get that smell out…"
"Point is, I'm taking my pants to her because she knows how to get these stains out and if it wasn't for her kid, I wouldn't have a stain to get out in the first place," Nick walked out before they could ask him anymore questions.
He walked the short distance down the hall to 4C and knocked. He waited, but no one answered. Nick knocked again, opening the door for himself this time. "Hello?"
Jess poked her head out from a room down the hall. She was on the phone and waved him in before going back in the room.
Nick walked in, extremely grateful that he decided to look down because right at the entrance was a puddle of vomit. "Look, I can just drop them off here on the counter. It's no big deal," Nick called out, taking only a few more steps in and stopping.
Jess came back out. "Yes, I know I've already used up my allotted sick days, but…" Jess rolled her eyes, gesturing to her phone as she walked towards him. She grabbed the pants from him and took them into the kitchen. She dropped them in the sink that she had filled with water and soap before he got there. "Did you not hear me? I have a sick kid! What do you expect me to do?!"
Nick stood there awkwardly, wondering if maybe he should just slowly back out and come back in a few hours for his pants.
There was retching coming from one of the rooms and Jess groaned. "Look, I'll call you right back," Jess hung up and ran to the room, not even bothering to dry her hands.
Nick decided that yes, he should leave. And maybe he should go ahead and take his pants and wash them himself. She seemed like she already had her hands full…
"God, I hope that was the last of it," Jess said as she came back out, a pail in her hands that was full of stuff that Nick did not want to see. Of course, she didn't show it to him. She set it down by the trashcan and went back to the sink, grabbing the pants and rubbing at them with renewed vigor. "I mean, can you believe them? They want to fire me because I can't go in!"
Nick silently cursed. Yes, he should've just dropped the pants off at the door, knocked, then run back into the loft.
"It's crazy! Yeah, I've already used up all my vacation days, but come on! How do they expect me to find someone to watch Huxley right now?! Everyone's at work and…" Jess stopped, turning to look at Nick. She gave him an odd look before quickly shaking her head and turning her attention back to the pants.
Nick pursed his lips. He knew exactly what she was about to ask him. He dropped his head as he knew exactly what he was about to say. "I can watch him. I just got off work, so you don't have to worry about that,"
Jess turned to look at him, her eyes bugging out. Nick wanted to close her eyelids just a little bit. "Are you serious?"
"Why not? It's the nice neighborly thing to do, right? And I'm not a pervert, I swear,"
Jess took the pants out and wrung them tightly. "You're in 4D, right?"
Nick nodded with only a hint of confusion on his face. "Oh, perfect, I already cleared you guys to watch Huxley in case of an emergency like this,"
Jess shrugged. "I had my friend get a list of everyone living on this floor and run background checks on them. I'm a mom. Mom's think about these things," Jess said as if that explained everything. "Let me throw this in the washer and I'll be right back to give you a few directions,"
Nick watched her run down the hall, wondering what kind of friends she had that could actually do something like that.
She was back moments later with a piece of paper in her hands that she stuck on the fridge. "Okay, so right now I'm thinking it's just a stomach bug, but if you notice he's complaining about his body hurting, call me right away. It's probably the flu in that case. My number is right there on the fridge,"
Jess opened up a cabinet and pulled out a few medicine bottles. "This is for headaches and fever reductions. This is for stomach aches. Don't give him any kind of dairy or anything that's super heavy on the stomach. Pantry over there is stocked with saltine crackers and canned chicken soup. If he doesn't want to eat anything, get him to at least try for some crackers," Jess looked around, making sure she didn't forget anything. "Oh, his name is Huxley and I'm Jess," she held out her hand for a handshake.
Nick took it. "Nick Miller. But apparently you knew that already,"
Jess laughed. "Yeah, but I didn't have a face for the name, so there you go," Nick shook his head.
"Anything else I should know?"
"No, I've covered pretty much everything," Jess walked to the door and picked up her bag from the floor. "Seriously, Nick, thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me,"
"Just go on. I can take care of things," Jess caught Nick off guard when she pulled him in for a hug. "Thank you so much!" she gave him a big smile and was out the door.
Nick took a deep breath and looked at the closed door. Well, might as well pick up the mess off the floor.
The buzzer on the washer had gone off ten minutes ago. Nick stood in front of it for nine minutes, trying to figure out how to even open the door. For the fourth time since coming to stand in front of the machine, Nick pulled at the door and willed it to open. But it would not budge.
"You have to take off the child lock,"
Nick jumped and spun around. Huxley was standing there, clutching the pail in front of him. "You know how to work this thing?"
Huxley looked at him with a tried frown. He moved past Nick, held a button down for a few seconds, then the machine beeped and the lock was undone. "There. Now, you just put it in the dryer and set the timer,"
Nick nodded, opening the door with ease. "Thanks, kid," he pulled out the pants and stuck them in the dryer. He stared at the buttons and knobs and the machine. Why were there so many?!
Huxley sighed loudly as he reached over, turned a knob, pressed a button, and the dryer turned on. Nick turned to look at Huxley. "Right, so I'm Nick-"
"My mom left me a note."
"Right…" Nick stared at him and Huxley stared back. The kid looked nothing like Jess. Probably the only thing he got from her were his bug eyes. But even those were brown instead of blue.
Nick pressed the back of his hand to Huxley's forehead. "Well, you don't feel too warm. Probably a low-grade fever now," he pulled his hand back. "How's your stomach?"
Huxley shrugged and looked down at the pail. "I kept the pail empty,"
"And that is a good sign," Nick smiled. But it faded as Huxley stared back expectantly. "So, um…I don't know, what do kids do when they're sick all day?"
"Watch cartoons and sleep,"
"Cool, sounds like my kind of day,"
Nick pulled out his phone and checked the time. It was ten after five. Weren't schools over by three? Was there some new law that came out the extended school hours? Maybe he should call Jess…
The door opened before he could follow that train of thought and Jess came in with arms loaded with grocery bags. "I'm home!" she announced, dropping the bags on the kitchen counter.
Huxley looked away from the TV to give a quick greeting before watching the screen again.
Jess walked up to and kissed his forehead. "How's my Hux Bug?"
Huxley just shrugged in response.
And of course, Jess turned to Nick for her answer.
"He's fine. Just woke up from a nap actually. Ate probably a third of a soup can and some crackers. He only threw up once more, but that was in the morning and he's been good ever since," Nick summarized, standing up to leave.
"And his fever?"
"It went away a little before noon and hasn't been back since,"
Jess nodded in approval, looking back at Huxley. "Well, bud, sounds like it was just a 24-hour bug. You are going back to school tomorrow."
Huxley scrunched up his nose, but didn't protest.
"Well, you're back, I have my clean pants, I'm leaving," Nick announced, walking backwards for the door.
"Oh, Nick, wait! I wanted to thank you, so how does dinner sound?"
Nick frowned. "Now?"
"Yeah, I mean, that's why I went to the grocery store. To buy all the stuff. What do you say?"
Nick couldn't remember the last time he had a home-cooked meal. It sounded tempting.
"Okay, so I'm not going to lie, but I bought enough for your roommates too. We've been living here for almost two months already and I still haven't met any of them. I mean, I'm barely meeting you. I don't want to be a horrible neighbor anymore,"
"You're not being a horrible neighbor. You're just being a normal one,"
"Come on, let me cook dinner for you guys,"
Nick pursed his lips. "What are you going to make?"
"Lasagna sound good?"
An hour later, Nick was finally leaving Jess' loft. With Jess and Huxley following after him. Jess held the casserole, Nick the garlic bread and his clean pants, and Huxley his pail that Jess insisted on him bringing in case something didn't settle well.
"I'm so excited to finally meet the rest of you guys! When Cece brought back the results of the background checks, you guys just sounded so awesome."
Nick made a face. "It'd probably be best if you didn't mention you ran a background check,"
"Aye, aye, Captain,"
Nick took a deep breath. She wast just dropping off dinner. Then, it would be a new day and he could pretend he had never met her in the first place. They stopped right at the door and Nick tried the door knob.
It was locked.
Nick groaned as he searched the pockets of his sweatpants. "Damn, I forget my keys."
Jess glared at him after his curse, but Nick ignored her. He knocked, waiting and hoping one of the guys would open the door. It was Wednesday night. Where else would they be?
Schmidt was the one to open the door. He blinked a few times as he stared at Nick with Jess and Huxley.
"Hi neighbor!" Jess greeted.
Schmidt stared at her in horror, down at Huxley with growing horror, then back up at Nick with triple horror. "You leave for one day to get your pants washed and you come back to the loft playing house?!"
Nick rolled his eyes. "Come on, dude. I wasn't gone all day-"
"The whole work day, Nick! You left before I did and came back after me!"
"Look, can you just let us in!"
Schmidt huffed before moving aside.
"Jess, this is Schmidt, Schmidt, Jess and Huxley, the new neighbors."
"Why is he carrying a bucket?"
"Oh he's kind of a loose canon right now. Who knows when his stomach might decide to revolt again," Jess said with a laugh.
Schmidt stared at her, then back at Nick. Nick just shrugged.
"So, I know this is totally random, but I did ask Nick, and I made you guys some dinner. You know, as an introduction to maybe some really great conversations in the halls," Jess said, holding up the casserole dish.
Winston came out of his room after hearing Schmidt yelling. But more importantly, after smelling the food. "Is that lasagna I smell?"
Nick pushed past Schmidt, allowing room for Jess and Huxley to come in right after him. "Yeah, our neighbor Jess made it for us," Nick gestured to Winston. "This is Winston,"
Jess' smile grew. "You're the one that was in Latvia," she said, sounding starstruck.
Winston frowned before his face brightened. "Wait, you've heard of me? You knew I played in Latvia?" he turned to Nick and Schmidt. "Why didn't you guys tell me I was in the news here?!"
Schmidt still looked absolutely confused.
Nick cleared his throat. "Anyways, Jess! Isn't it time to give Huxley his meds?"
"Oh, right, sorry Hux Bug, you know how Mommy can get sometimes,"
Huxley just stared at Jess before looking off into space again the way one does when they're sick and full of meds.
"Well, here's this lasagna I made for you guys, kind of just to introduce myself and also to thank Nick for today," Jess said, handing the dish to Winston who happily took it. "I'd love to sit and chat a little bit, hear more about Latvia and your marketing job, Schmidt, but Nick is right. Hopefully, not too much time has passed since Huxley's taken his medicine and he throws up all over Nick again,"
Jess laughed, but no one joined her.
She cleared her throat awkwardly. "Okay, well we'll see you in the halls! It was so nice meeting you guys!"
"Bye Nick," Huxley mumbled out.
"If I get sick in the next week, I'm coming after you, kid."
Huxley smiled a little before Schmidt closed the door and stared at Nick.
Nick frowned. "What?"
"What the hell was that?!"
"I don't know, but this stuff is good and…Nick is that garlic bread? Man, pass that stuff out!" Winston said, his mouth already full of lasagna.
Nick set the garlic bread down and grabbed a fork to dig into the lasagna. "Look, she was having a hard time with her kid and trying to get to work, so I offered some help,"
"And she just decided to trust you after you gave out all our information?"
Nick rolled his eyes. "She had one of her friends run background checks on us. I told her not to mention it because you guys would freak out and honestly, I did too, but she said she only did it because of her kid and if she needed us to watch him in case of an emergency. Like today,"
"Wait she did-? Nicholas! What have you just brought into our lives?! Now she's going to coming over here every time something happens to try and drop her kid off on us!"
"Relax, dude," Winston said, getting up to finally get himself a plate instead of eating out of the dish. "She's been living here for at least three months now and hasn't done what you're accusing her of,"
"And besides, I offered. She didn't ask me to watch him,"
Schmidt glared at them both before giving a loud huff. "Fine! But I'll have you know that I do not want sticky finger prints all over this loft. It's already hard enough keeping this place clean with Nick,"
A few days later, Nick was staring at the sticky fingerprints that covered the dining table. He scratched the back of his head, trying to remember what cleaner Schmidt used for the dining table. It was different than the kitchen table because that one was metal and this was wood. Apparently, you couldn't use the same cleaner on it?
Nick groaned, deciding to just use a wet paper towel and elbow grease. "How'd you even get sticky fingerprints on here, kid?" Nick muttered.
Huxley shrugged. "Mom says boys are just always sticky,"
Nick looked up to glare at him. He rolled his eyes when he noticed he was chewing on a lollipop. Well, at least that explained the stickiness.
When Jess knocked on the door that morning, Nick should've said no. Turned her away and declared that yeah, even though they were cleared by her friend as good guys and capable of watching Huxley didn't mean that they would.
But she swore it was only for a few hours until her friend got off of work. Whatever Huxley had earlier in the week had passed on to her. And even while she was still sick and just got through vomiting her guts up, Jess still managed to go on and on and over explain and analyze the situation.
Nick considered shutting the door in her face, but he didn't. Huxley looked back and forth between him and Jess with such a hopeful look on his face. Nick hated himself, but he couldn't say no.
Jess needed Huxley out of the apartment for 24-hours while she went through this bug cycle. Nick was supposed to keep an eye on him for a few hours until her friend came to pick him up. Huxley would spend the rest of the 24-hours with her. Or at least until Jess deemed the apartment contagion free.
"Where did you get that candy?" Nick asked.
"From my pocket. I forgot I had it and I haven't let Mom wash these pants yet," Huxley responded, moving to settle on the couch.
The explanation was good enough for Nick. He dropped it and kept cleaning off the table. "Hey, hey, just don't get the remote all sticky too, all right?" Nick said as he heard the TV turn on.
Huxley grumbled something and flipped through the channels, stopping to settle on How It's Made.
Nick stopped and watched the TV, trying not to immediately become mesmerized by the moving objects and the calming voice of the narrator. "No cartoons?"
Huxley shrugged. "I like this show the best,"
Well, he couldn't argue there. That was a hell of a show.
Nick managed to un-sticky the table right before Schmidt walked in.
"Well, Nicholas, you can add another drug store to the list of ones we are not going to…" Schmidt trailed off as he looked at Huxley sitting comfortably on the couch and sucking away on his candy. "Who is this child?"
Huxley either didn't hear Schmidt or chose to ignore him completely.
"That's Huxley, remember?" Nick said, throwing the used paper towels away. "Jess asked me to watch him for a little bit,"
Schmidt narrowed his eyes, pointing an accusing finger at Nick. "I knew it! I knew you were too weak and that this was exactly what was going to happen!"
Nick rolled his eyes. "What are you talking about?"
"She's going to try and push this kid on us every chance she gets! She'll use the excuse as wanting him to have good male role-models, and I will admit I am a fantastic role model, you most certainly are not!"
"Mom said she wasn't sure if she liked you and didn't want to leave me with just you without Winston or Nick," Huxley said, proving that he was in fact paying attention to their conversation.
Nick laughed. "Well, you have to admit that the kid's got a point,"
Schmidt glared at Nick.
"Look, she got sick too and didn't want him getting sick again. I'm only watching him until her friend shows up for him."
"And I can guarantee you, she's as strange as Jess is. Isn't that right, Maxley?"
"It's Huxley," Nick corrected.
"Whatever. The point is, she's already begun!"
"Taking advantage of us!" There was a knock at the door and Nick gave Schmidt a smug look. "See, I bet that's her friend right now. It was only a few hours and you came just as her friend was coming to pick him up too. You weren't the one that had to deal with him, so you have no right to complain,"
Schmidt glared at Nick as he moved to open the door. He did peek over Nick's shoulder though and could completely understand why Nick said nothing once the door was open.
"Uh, hi, Jess said Huxley was over here. I'm Cece,"
"Aunt Cece!" Huxley exclaimed as he jumped up from the couch and ran to hug her legs.
Both Schmidt and Nick continued staring while Cece focused on the child clinging to her. "Hey there, Hux, you ready for a fun day?"
"Yes! Nick wouldn't let me touch anything because he said I would get stuff sticky,"
"Hey, I have sore arms to prove just how sticky you made our table."
Huxley stuck his tongue out at Nick, who immediately mimicked his expression.
Cece had a curious look on her face as she looked between Huxley and Nick, still making faces at each other. Nick seemed genuinely annoyed, but Huxley was struggling to keep a smile off his face. "He seems to really like you,"
Nick crossed his arms, glaring at Huxley for a few moments more before looking at Cece. "I don't know why. I haven't given him any reason to like me,"
Schmidt cleared his throat. "Oh Nicholas, he just always forgets how good he is with children. Of course, he isn't as good as I am. You know, I was about to suggest that we take Huxley swimming. It's such a beautiful day and…" Schmidt pulled his shirt off and subtly flexed. "There's all kinds of beautiful things to watch at the pool,"
Nick groaned, "Jar, Schmidt,"
Without looking away from Cece, Schmidt pulled out a bill and handed it to Nick who stuck it in a jar filled with other bills.
"Right, Huxley, let's go,"
"But are we really going swimming?"
"Your Aunt Cece can take you, but I'm not going. If I went, that would mean I'd have to take Schmidt and if he goes, then I'd probably have to buy a new d-bag jar and I really don't want to,"
"Mom has a bunch of jars you can have,"
"Thank for the offer kid, but it's still a no from me,"
"If he wants, I could join in-"
"Schmidt, no. Cece, it's nice meeting you. Huxley, don't ever bring candy in here again," Nick said, letting them step out of the loft before closing the door.
"We have to invite Jess and Huxley over one day. And tell her to bring Cece," Schmidt let out deep sigh, staring at the closed door. "Or you know what? We'll just invite Cece. I can't have Jess or the child ruining my seduction prowess,"
Nick shook his head as he walked away. "Jar, Schmidt!"