Title: All We Are
Rating: Strongly PG
Characters/Pairings: Nathan/Audrey; Nathan and Duke friendship
Summary: The more secrets that Audrey learns the more that it begins to take it's toll on her. Meanwhile, Nathan gets some unsolicited advice from Duke on his lack of relationships.
Warnings: Spoilers through 1x12 and some angst and adult concepts
Word Count: 2,736
The sun shone and the gulls sang as Audrey walked the trails of Tuwiuwok Bluff. Hiking had always been a favorite pastime of hers. Though this wasn't hiking in the truest sense of the word, there was nothing like a walk in the woods to help straighten her thoughts when things got too confusing. And right now confusing was a mild way of putting it. All she had wanted was to find out about her mother, just like any other person in her situation would. But what she was finding instead was something far more complicated.
To this troubled town Lucy Ripley had come to help. Two people now had informed her of that. And apparently, Audrey had inherited Lucy's 'gift' if this last case concerning James Garrick was any proof.
If she had inherited it. If it wasn't something else.
She came to the edge of the bluff overlooking the water. This was the place where it had all started for her. Right here where Jonas Lester had died. If he hadn't escaped from prison she would have never come here, but now that she was here she found herself unable, or unwilling, to leave.
Audrey checked her watch. It was about time for her to head to the station and get to work. Ah, the life of a small-town cop.
Nathan knew that there was something wrong with Audrey the moment he walked into the small office that they shared. For starters, she was sitting too still and Audrey was always fidgeting and messing with things. And another thing was that she was staring intently at the wall as if there was something written on it that she was trying to read.
Audrey looked up at him in surprise. "Oh, hey there Nathan. I didn't even hear you come it."
Since when did she not notice when he entered? Audrey always made an effort to pay attention to her surroundings. No doubt something she learned at the FBI Academy. Nathan decided to do something that they rarely did; he shut the office door.
Audrey raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Is there a reason you closed the door?"
"We need to talk," Nathan replied. "You've been acting strange recently."
Nathan felt the frustration bubble up inside of him. Not that he expected her to make this easy on him, but still... "Like not answering your cell phone and being late to work. How's that for starters?"
Audrey blew out a sigh as she tried to find the best way to answer his original question. "It's complicated."
She paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. "Apparently, Lucy had some sort of power and was able to help many of the people here. And it seems that I have it as well."
Nathan looked mildly surprised. "Oh really?"
"Yeah, really." Audrey met his gaze. "I touched James. No one else had been able to do that, just me. Somehow, I was able to help him hold himself together long enough to say goodbye to his family."
"Nathan, what am I?" she asked desperately. "James told me that when Lucy was helping him she received a cut on her foot. Well, I have a scar on the bottom of my foot. A scar that I've had since I can remember and I have no idea where it came from. What does that mean?"
Unable to find an answer Nathan just shook his head. "I'm not sure."
"You're the only one I can trust," Audrey said softly, almost desperately. "I don't know who else to go to with this. Nathan, what if I am Lucy?"
Nathan tried to swallow around the lump that was forming in his throat. Never before had he seen Audrey so vulnerable. "That can't be."
"But what if I am? Look, Lucy and I are almost identical. Right? And we both have this 'gift' for helping troubled people. And we both have the same scar on our foot! What other explanation can there be?"
Nathan walked over to her. "You're not Lucy. You're Audrey Parker. Maybe inherited some of the same traits as Lucy. Maybe because of Lucy's gift you got the scar. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that there is not possible way that you could be the same woman in the Colorado Kid picture." He perched himself on the edge of her desk.
She shook her head. "But how can you be sure? I mean, how can either of us be sure that I'm not a… a…"
"You mean a freak?" Nathan couldn't quite conceal the edge of bitterness from his voice. "Are you worried that you are a freak just like the rest of us?"
"You know that's not what I mean!" Audrey snapped back. "I just don't know what to think right now."
In the short silence that followed Audrey could faintly hear the phone ringing and people talking on the other side of the door. She picked up a pencil and began lightly tapping it on her desk. "What makes you so certain?" she finally asked.
Nathan shrugged. "Guess I'm just going on faith here."
Audrey let out a bitter laugh. "Yeah, faith. Since when did you do that?"
"Maybe there was a reason that you were brought to Haven?" Nathan asked, clearly avoiding the question. " Maybe you really are meant to help the people here?"
"Oh yeah?" Audrey snorted. "And what makes you think that?"
Taking a deep breath Nathan slowly took one of her hands into his, giving her the chance to pull away if she wanted to. While she looked surprised she didn't protest. "I can feel you."
Audrey blinked. "You what?"
"This. I can feel this." He placed his free hand on top of hers for emphasis.
Audrey was flabbergasted. How could this possibly be? The man couldn't even feel his own skin but he could feel her touch. "But when did this happen? How long have you known?"
"Since Jess left," he confessed quietly. "It was when you kissed me on the cheek."
"So you've known this entire time and you didn't bother to tell me?" Audrey frowned. "Why not? I thought friends told each other everything?"
"I wanted to tell you, but I had to be sure. I had to make sure that it wasn't a onetime deal." He tightened his grip on her hand. "I just had to know."
"So you couldn't be bothered to say anything?" She couldn't believe this. All this time she had thought they were friends and he kept this from her? Audrey stood up but her hand was still trapped between Nathan's. She tugged uselessly but all that did was bring Nathan to his feet as well. As he stood Audrey suddenly became very aware of just how close his body was to hers. And suddenly all she wanted was to be held. She could count on one hand the number of times that someone had held her close and that weren't a lot. But she wasn't going to beg for it.
"Course I didn't bother to say anything. I had a feeling that this was how you'd react. But you need to know that this gift of yours? It truly is helping people. You help me." His gaze had turned almost to one of pleading, if Nathan Wournos was the kind of guy who would beg.
Suddenly, Audrey felt all of her anger drain out of her. How could she stay angry at him? He was her best and only friend. And since he was her friend she should stop paying attention to the heat coming off of his body, or just how nice he smelled. Surely that's not what you do with friends?
"So you can feel me, right?" she said more to distract herself from her own feelings than to confirm what she had just been told. "That's interesting."
"Yeah," Nathan peered at her.
"Yeah," she replied feeling a little foolish. No wonder Nathan had been acting so strange recently. Now that he had admitted the reason behind his actions it all made perfect sense. How could she not have noticed it before?
"So," she said gently extracting her hand from his. "Can you feel this?" She placed his hand on her arm, over the sleeve of her sweater.
Nathan shook his head. "Nope, can't feel a thing."
"But you can feel this?" She placed his hand in hers.
He took a deep breath shifting his hand slightly so that their fingers intertwined. "Yeah, I can feel that."
Something akin to electricity seemed to flow from where their hands were joined up Audrey's arm. It spread throughout her body warming her from head to toe. How could such a simple touch spark so much feeling? What did this mean?
As they stood there with their hands joined there was a quick knock on the door followed by it swinging open and the chief walking in. Nathan and Audrey quickly jumped apart like naughty school children caught in the act of making out. The chief took one look at them, sized up the situation, and simply said, "If you two are done doing whatever it is you're doing maybe you should get some actual work done." And then he turned around and walked back out.
"Well, that was awkward," Audrey said after a moment.
"Yeah," Nathan answered.
Neither of them spoke about that conversation for the rest of the day, but it was never far from their minds.
That next morning Nathan went directly to the marina to find Duke. What Audrey had said the previous day about Lucy troubled him. Nathan wanted to get some things cleared up and the little boy who had once held Lucy Ripley's hand was his first stop.
"Duke!" he called out as he boarded the boat. "Duke, you here?"
The man in question poked his head out the door. "Well good morning to you too!" he replied cheerfully as he walked out on deck. "And to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"
"We need to talk." Nathan walked up until he was standing in front of Duke. "About Lucy."
Duke lifted up his hands in a defensive gesture. "Whoa buddy, I already told Audrey everything that I knew."
Nathan studied Duke for a second. "Did you really? Or are you just keeping more secrets?"
"Hey, you're one to talk about secrets! What with you keeping one yourself and all," Duke exclaimed fiercely.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Nathan glared at him. How dare he imply that Nathan was keeping secrets.
"You were there at Audrey's birthday, weren't you?" Duke took a step back and sat down on a chair. "Of course you were there. You were the one that shot her."
Nathan said nothing, only continued to stare at Duke in stony silence.
"You were also the one that kissed her." Duke smiled when he saw that his statement caused Nathan to start. "Yeah, I saw that too buddy. I also saw the look on your face when you thought Audrey was dead. And, I also saw the look on your face when we found out that she was alive. Fess up, you love her."
"It's not like that," Nathan stated. "We're just friends is all."
"Right, and that's why she refuses to go out on a date with me." Duke's smile turned into a smirk. "I've made my feelings for her more than obvious and yet she's rather spend time with you. I wonder why?"
"We've been working together."
"Really? And that's all you've been doing? No casual hand holding? No flirting?" Duke shook his head. "Honestly, Nathan, I don't know what she's waiting on. You to make a move?" He turned and looked out at the water. "And maybe you should. Maybe it's about time you showed her how much you really cared?"
Now it was Nathan's turn to shake his head. "And I should follow your advice why?"
Duke turned and looked back at Nathan. "Because I'm the guy that gets the girl. Usually. But Audrey is different. And besides, you'll never know until you've tried. You want a beer or something?"
"Um, no. Thank you." Nathan took a step back as he tried to process what Duke was telling him. Could Audrey possibly feel the same way? Was that even possible?
All throughout the day that thought bothered him. What was worse was that he spent the entire day working with the woman in question. Words were never his strong point. He was more of a man of action. But Duke was right about one thing: Audrey was different. But she was also his friend and the last thing that he wanted to do was scare her off.
Audrey stood in her apartment waiting for her TV dinner to finish cooking in the microwave. Nathan had been acting even more strange than usual and she could only suspect that yesterday's conversation had something to do with it. Hell, it probably had everything to do with it. She had exposed herself to Nathan and probably ruined the only real friendship that she had ever had. The timer beeped and she pulled her dinner out. There was a reason that she normally didn't get close to people. Though she wouldn't admit it deep down inside she felt as though her heart was breaking. First Lucy and now Nathan. What next?
A knock on her door broke through her melancholy thoughts. Audrey sighed as she looked mournfully at her dinner. She had really wanted to eat this while it was still hot. Now, it was probably going to get cold by the time she got back.
The knock came again only louder this time. Audrey stood up to answer the door. To her surprise the knocker himself was Nathan, looking a bit uncomfortable.
"Nathan, what's wrong?" she asked quickly. Was there another death? Why didn't he just call?
Nathan looked surprised by the intensity of her reaction. "Huh? Oh, nothing's wrong. I was just wondering if you wanted to have dinner with me?"
Audrey just looked at him for a moment. "Dinner?" she repeated.
"Or if don't want to then that's fine," Nathan responded quickly and started to turn away.
"Nathan wait, I'm sorry. You just took me by surprise. What's the occasion?"
Nathan shrugged. "No occasion, just wanted to have dinner with you."
Audrey couldn't help but chuckle. There was Nathan looking so nervous and hopeful at the same time while asking her to dinner. Only he could brighten her sour mood in that way. "What is this like a date or something?"
"Yes… No… No date. Just two friends having dinner." He nodded as if he was agreeing with that statemtent.
Now Audrey was laughing. "Okay, I'll go. But you better tell me what's up afterwards."
Nathan looked slightly offended. "Nothing's up. It's just that…" He screwed up his face in thought. "There's something I tried to do at your birthday party. But it didn't work because it wasn't you. I'd like to try it again, but I'm not sure you'll agree to it."
"Oh really? And what makes you think that?" Audrey grinned as she leaned against the doorframe.
Nathan shifted his weight as he gazed intently at her face. "Well, it's just that… It's this." And he leaned forward and kissed her.
Nothing could have prepared Audrey for the impact of that kiss. It was like a shockwave that pulsed throughout her body. She quickly grabbed Nathan by the neck and pulled him closer. Judging by the low growl that he emitted he had felt that. His tongue darted out, teasing her lips, and she happily opened up her mouth to let him in.
Eventually, the need for air overcame the need to kiss and they had to break apart. "So," she said. "Am I as good as doppelganger me?"
"No," Nathan replied breathlessly. "Even better." He pulled her close and Audrey gave a contented sigh. Just what she had needed. Forget the Troubles, forget her cold TV dinner, she knew that no matter what she would always be safe in Nathan's arms.
A sudden thought popped into her head. "About that dinner," she said with a wicked smile. "I propose that we stay in for dinner."
Nathan grinned. "Yeah, I suppose we could do that."
Author's Note: Please remember that comments and reviews feed the muse! Thanks!