I'm not sure this is really necessary, but who doesn't want to relive the epic pancake scene over and over? Especially since instead of another one at the end we got a potential tragedy.
Obviously I don't own this scene. That honor belongs to the actual writers of the show, who've been doing a pretty good job with all the characters this season, I think. This was a pretty good excuse to rewatch it over and over.
Despite all that's happened in the past twelve hours it's still a shock when Audrey presses her hands to his bare stomach. Nathan can't stop the sound that escapes: a hitched, heavy breath as his nerves flare to life. But the surprise melts almost immediately to bliss as he clears his throat and she wraps her arms around him. He drops the whisk and grabs her hands, thrilled that he can now feel both sides of them.
"Can't feel the bowl," he tells her. "Can't feel the whisk. But I can feel that." It's such a miracle he needs to articulate it. For once the telling does not make the good thing in his life crumble to dust.
She plants butterfly kisses down his shoulder as he speaks, tickling and teasing him in the most delightful of ways. As much as he enjoys it, he wants to see her face, so he turns her in his arms.
She looks radiant. She is always beautiful, but he's never seen her so relaxed and full of joy. He'd seen Sarah that way once, but they hadn't had time like this, to eat breakfast together and marvel at each other in the daylight. She'd had to go back to the hospital, and he'd had to go find Duke. They'd been strangers, as connected as they'd felt, so any moment like this wouldn't have been the same anyway. It would not have been so painstakingly earned.
"Can you feel that?" she asks, kissing him, one hand reaching up to cradle his neck and the other coming to rest on his back.
After last night she knows exactly what he can feel. There are no words to adequately describe what had happened between them. All the frustration and heartbreak of the past year had imploded at the force of their love, and they had finally gotten back in sync – again and again. He was no expert on sex, and his affliction left him less experienced than most men his age in that area. For years he hadn't even been able to manage desire, his libido dead with his nerves. But Audrey enflamed his body and his soul, and everything about that night had been perfect. It had seemed like magic, the way his skin reacted to hers. He'd found paradise in their tangle of lips and limbs, bliss in their soft cries and delirious friction. Whenever their bodies needed rest they had talked about all that had come between them, rebuilding the trust they had shattered. He'd never expected to receive her forgiveness. An explanation for her behavior was even less anticipated. But when the physical barriers were stripped away the emotional ones came down as well. It is strange how he now yearns for that honesty between them almost as strongly as a caress.
Even though the future's still uncertain, he finds he can live with that.
"Uh-uh." He used to make jokes about his Trouble, hiding his pain behind the derision. The Chief was always telling him to acknowledge what was in front of his eyes, and the truth was he was a broken man. But it's an entirely different motive that makes him deny her now when the answer is clearly yes.
He's teasing her, just like she's teasing him.
She laughs, the closest he's ever heard her come to a giggle, kissing him again and again, grazing the edge of his mouth without lingering too long.
"Okay yeah," he caves. She rewards him with another laugh and a longer kiss.
"Why did we wait so long?" she asks.
He pulls back so he can look at her. "Haven. It's not an easy place."
For an instant he is afraid this will spark an argument. But he sees none of the fear and resignation she'd been drowning in before he told her he loved her. She is still smiling. Determined. He knows when Audrey puts her mind to something nothing can stand in her way. "At least Haven has both of us again." Her hands move across his chest, shoulders, neck. "And if helping the Troubled is what I'm supposed to do karmicly—"
He narrows his eyes at her choice of words. Hers follow suit as she pauses and then looks away, embarrassed. "I'm sorry. That's a bit of a Lexie word. Those creep in every once in awhile."
It's odd, but it doesn't bother him. Between his dream and her earlier outburst he has learned something – he loves Audrey Parker, with her terrible jokes and outstanding instincts, boundless compassion and lack of social graces, because it is Audrey who has stood beside him ever since he pulled her from that car and she pulled a gun on him. But he can accept whatever baggage and memories come with that. "It's okay," he assures. "I've grown more fond of her."
He's not sure he would have ever accepted Lexie if Audrey was really gone for good – certainly not the version of her she'd adopted to push his buttons. But she is fascinating in traces. He's nearly certain Lexie taught Audrey a few tricks she put to good use last night. The nose ring's a bit much, but he doesn't mind the piercings in her ear or her navel. She doesn't need the makeup, but those kohl-rimmed eyes draw him in in a way he can't ignore. He likes that her hair is long and wavy, though he wishes it was blonder.
If that is the only sacrifice required of him, he'll certainly live.
"Have you?" she asked, the humor in her voice sparking joy deep inside him.
"Mmmm-hmmm." It is good to smile again.
He will never get enough of her, but the urgency of their coupling is extinguished. He is satisfied to drink her in slowly, to savor every meeting of their lips and every time she moves her hand against him. For the first time since he was five years old and the Troubles were just a cautionary tale no one had bothered to tell him, he feels content. Another of the many gifts she has given him.
Her kisses are growing deeper now, less distracted, and he cradles her face to hold her to him. The pancakes will have to wait, but he doesn't mind. Long as they don't get called in for a case the batter will keep. He'd much rather explore this new intimacy between them. Fall back into her bed and not emerge for hours.
It is perhaps the biggest miracle of all that she seems to be enjoying this as much as he is. Haven has worn them both to the bone but this morning he can find no trace of that exhaustion. She is cured of her past. Unafraid of the future.
She is right. They should not have waited so long.
He's determined they will never deny themselves again when a knock on the door breaks them apart. Her eyes widen as she mutters "Ummmm" and pushes him away, but he's already remembering where he left his shirt and shoes. She had made it quite clear last night that they must keep up the Lexie ruse to protect him, and he's not in an arguing mood. He dresses as quickly as possible and slips out the back.
Vince finds him before he gets back to his truck, and Nathan knows that his collar's not right. He gives some nonsense excuse about looking for Duke and without even thinking he's quoting Phil Collins. The old man ought to be suspicious of his terrible cover, but he seems to be too distracted by what he wants to happen to realize what he just interrupted. Seems luck is on their side today. (Though perhaps, if they'd been just a bit luckier, Vince wouldn't have shown up at all, and they'd have gotten to eat their pancakes. For lunch.)
Nathan's not even bothered when Vince reminds him he must die. Audrey has assured him that doesn't need to happen, and he'll take her word on that. They have spent their partnership accomplishing impossible things.
Besides, he woke up this morning feeling invincible.
Everything going to be okay, right?