Title: Strength

Author: Mel

Rating: G

Warnings: Angst

Spoilers: Burked,Stalker,Grave Danger

Summary: Nick is comforted by Cath after Grave Danger

Disclaimer: Not mine, don't own them,not making money off it.

Ship:CatNip

Notes: This was inspired by rewatching Stalker today and thinking of Grave Danger in the process. I also think it's the final product of an earlier idea I had that took place in the hospital. This version could take place either at the hospital or home, whichever comes to your mind while reading.

She watched him in the dim room, his battered form beginning to thrash and move as she'd anticipated. His limbs jerked and his body twisted, frightened cries sounding in his throat as his mind forced him to relive his traumatic experiences in his dreams. As he had said years before, though it was over physically, in an emotional and psychological sense it was never over for him.

She reached out, caressing his cheek, slipping into the bed next to him and pulling him into her arms. He came awake, trembling, offering no resistance, just seeming to collapse, emotionally spent, into her embrace. He was fighting back tears, trying desperately to find strength he didn't have anymore.

"It's all right, let it come" she whispered. "I'm always amazed at how strong you are, but you don't have to be strong all the time. Let me be strong for you."

He let himself begin to sob, his body shuddering as her hand rubbed his back, her voice soothing him and letting him know that he needn't be afraid to show his emotions to her. It hurt her to see him like this, almost as much as his earlier condition, and she could only hope that he was strong enough to overcome this, just as he had before in his life.

He'd come through so much in his life already; his innocence violated when he was just a boy, his mind further traumatized by being stalked just a couple years back. Things that might have broken some people long ago And yet, he was so strong, somehow able, at least in public, to do his job and live his life fairly normally. She wondered, though, how he was when he was alone, with no need to hide his emotions, how badly he really struggled.

She wondered if he would now find the strength to cope with this latest incident, if his traumatized mind would be able to heal itself. The physical indicators of his ordeal would soon fade, but, she wondered what scars would remain on his mind for the rest of his life, joining the old scars from his past. She thought of when she'd first seen him after his rescue, how broken and almost on the edge of insanity he'd seemed. He was better now, but she knew his mind would never be the same again.

His trembling had slowed and then ceased, his breathing growing regular and steady. As she gazed down at him, she saw that he had fallen asleep. She kissed him gently on the cheek, still holding him close as if to protect him as he slept.

Just rest, Nicky, she thought. you're safe, they can't hurt you anymore. I can't promise nothing more will happen to you, or that you'll never get hurt again…but I'd protect you with my life if it came to it. And I can promise that if you'll let me be there for you, you won't have to go through anymore alone. I'll help you however I can, and if you don't have the strength to come through this, maybe you can draw on some of mine.