A/N: This was just a little something that popped into my dumb brain. I'm really tired and exhausted while I wrote this so forgive me. It's going to get damn dramatic and is angsty too. But it's just a small thing so be kind and leave me some reviews lol because this is new-ish territory and the second the idea popped in, I just started writing. Little rough around the edges.
Julius Pepperwood: Season 3, Episode 20.
Jess was tired. It had been a long day at school and she wanted to sleep, but over the last two years, she had never missed a single episode of Julius Pepperwood; she had already missed the first two minutes of the episode.
Watching it left a bittersweet taste in her mouth, and it was the only connection she really had with Nick anymore; it was quite strange actually, because that very connection she had run away from three years ago and here she was, three years later, exhausted out of her mind, as she tried desperately to hold on to whatever she had left of it.
Boy, am I pathetic , she thought ruefully.
She could see glimpses of Nick's writing in it, and she felt a pang every time of course, but she was also proud. He had accomplished everything he had ever dreamed of, and never thought himself capable of. It was great to watch it unfold.
After she had come to Portland, she was still in touch with Cece and Schmidt. She was Ruth's godmother and she knew Nick was her godfather. Every once in a while, Winston or Aly would ring her up; in latest news, Aly was pregnant. But Nick… she hadn't kept up with him after she had left. While the others had tried to fill her in, she had told them she didn't want to know. Worried at first, they'd relented and had stopped talking to her about him. Nick was a no-conversation topic for them, and it was starting to feel alright.
As for Nick, he had stopped calling after the first couple of months and nearly four months after she had left, Nick had published the sequel to The Pepperwood Chronicles. She'd gotten herself to buy it after a lot of debate, and it was like Nick had said.
Jessica Night and Pepperwood are never going to get together. They were fundamentally different people.
The second book also reflected just that as well. It had hurt - Jessica Night had moved on from Pepperwood and had quit her job. It had been an amicable goodbye.
But as she had watched season 2 of the show, things deviated from the original story and her curiosity had peaked when it was renewed for a new season, because now what? And that was how she had found herself watching an interview of one of the writers.
"Of course we have to get those two together! All the viewers are rooting for them and I'll be honest, if they don't get together, we'll lose our ratings. And surprisingly, Miller here has given us the thumbs up for it."
Before they could cut to Nick, she had turned it off and stared at her screen for ten minutes, while chanting in her head that it was for the audience and that it meant nothing.
If only her life had been scripted the way she wanted it to be.
Last she had seen, Pepperwood and Jessica Night, now dating, were trying to rescue a bunch of children that Schmith had kidnapped for experimenting with his new zombifying drug. As she had watched the episode, Cece had called Jess laughing as to how infuriated Schmidt was.
"Jess, I think he's going to kill Nick," she had laughed.
So she turned on the TV and she went to the channel the show was on; the opening credits were still rolling and her eyebrows raised in surprise.
Directed and written by Nicholas Miller.
He'd written episodes before, but never directed them. Frowning a little in surprise, she started to sink into the couch when Pepperwood spoke and she felt herself freeze.
"Did you say "our" kid?"
"Yeah, sometimes I think about what our kid would look like," she admitted slowly.
Jess felt her heart sink as she stared at the screen of her TV; she knew this script by heart. She had re-lived it in her head a thousand times, trying to picture the different ways it could've gone. She wanted to turn it off, but she found herself transfixed and sat on the couch, her entire body tense.
She finally only relaxed, with a heavy heart, when she knew it was over and Julius mumbled, "So what does that mean… Are we…"
"Yeah," sniffled Jessica Night, and Jess felt her eyes pool with tears as she felt her heart break all over again.
What had she been thinking.
She watched the episode almost blankly as Pepperwood and Night continued the rest of their mission in silence. Once the children were rescued, they headed back to the office and both of them stood at the entrance, shuffling their feet awkwardly.
"So, um, I guess this is goodbye," said Jessica Night looking at the floor, voice trembling.
"You don't have to… leave…" said Pepperwood, voice tight.
"You know I have to," she said softly as she cupped his cheek and grazed it delicately.
Well, Jessica Night is smarter than Jessica Day, for sure , she thought, at least in terms of leaving when she should have.
Pepperwood nodded stiffly and Jessica Night pulled him into a hug, so reminiscent and so painfully familiar that Jess started to felt the wind knocked out of her.
Why was this on here. This was a mistake. This hurts.
She watched them stay that way, hugging and the tears were flowing now as she willed herself to just get the remote, turn the damn TV off, drink some wine and go to sleep. She was too tired already and watching this was not helping. At all.
As they broke apart from the hug, Jess watched as Jessica Night walked away from Pepperwood. It had started to rain and Pepperwood stared at her and Jess couldn't take it anymore. She finally found the ability to move and reached out to turn the TV off when Pepperwood spoke again.
Jessica Night turned around as Pepperwood ran up to her, breathless as he stood in front of her.
"I'm just scared. I-I'm not used to thinking so much into the future. I want to, I really do but I get scared. What if none of that really happens and if you just left after I-"
What was this?
"Pepperwood, I would never… I would never have left..."
"You are. You are leaving me now."
Oh god, what was happening.
Jess bit her lower lip tensely, standing straight now as she watched because this was not how it… ended.
"Because we want different things," she cried. "I want to stay, Pepperwood, I really do. But I… Knowing that we'll never…"
"I don't know what I want in the future, all I know is that I want you …"
He was holding her now, looking at her as the rain poured, his trenchcoat clinging to him as the water dripped.
"...I don't know about the future, it can take whatever course it wants. I love you. More than anything. That's all that matters," he pled.
"But what you said earlier…"
"I didn't mean any of it. I just panicked, and I just… I'm sorry. I don't see the future clearly but I can't see it at all without you. Please stay, Jess."
Jess!? Pepperwood had never called Jessica Night that before. It was always 'Night' or 'doll'.
And then Jessica Night raised herself on her toes and kissed him in the rain while he held on to her for dear life. The episode ended and the credits started to roll, and Jess couldn't move.
Her brain was almost static as it tried to process what she had just seen. She tried to tell herself again that it meant nothing, but this time even the rational part of her was telling her otherwise.
Pepperwood had never called Jessica Night 'Jess' before. Ever.
Nick had directed this episode.
It had to mean something.
Before she could talk herself out of it, she was dialling Nick's number on her cellphone, her heart drumming in her chest.
He picked up on the first ring.
"Jess," he breathed, and she started to cry.
It had been so long.
As she cried, he kept apologising to her for "everything". She wasn't sure yet what he meant but it was just so good to hear his voice. She hadn't even realized how much she had missed him and the longing was far greater than what she thought she'd been repressing. When she found her voice again, her tears subdued and she was only sniffling slightly
"I… I… Nick… I was… I just…"
"Did you watch it?"
"I was hoping you would," he said quietly.
A/N: I have the entire thing mapped out in my head, the before's and after's of this, so if you guys have any questions and want to know more about this fic, hmu!
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