After working a triple homicide and pulling a triple-shift himself in the process, Nick was more than eager to get home and recharge his battery, because he was absolutely drained.
Every time he worked cases like these, that showcased the absolutely worst in humanity, a little bit of hope left his heart. Hope that one day, all the hate and crime would come to an end, or at least lessen to a point where people didn’t decide that taking someone’s life–whether literally or emotionally–would be an acceptable form of punishment. Hope that there was still love in the world, that could triumph over the pain.
Hope that one day, he could triumph over his own pain, driving and twisting a knife through his heart. That one day, he could even feel his heart again, because on days like these, he had to press down hard to even feel his heartbeat.
On days like these, he wondered if he still had a heart at all.
If he could ever love again.
If he could ever care again.
Care about the victims, their families, the unfortunate circumstances that lead to the cases that keep him up at night, because in this moment, he can’t care.
If he cares too much, he becomes weak, and can’t do his job. And without this job, who was he? Too much has happened to him at this point for him to imagine doing anything else with his life.
He slumped through the threshold to his home, let his bag slide off his shoulder and fall to the floor with a loud thud. Dueling instincts in his head told him to grab a beer from the fridge and hop in the shower, or else just fall into bed without even changing his clothes.
And another instinct told him to greet the woman who was patiently awaiting his arrival, who had no words to offer but a soft, sad smile, because while she didn’t have to work the same case he did, she just…knew.
“Hi,” he rasped out, deciding to forgo the beer, forgo the shower, forgo the bed. He plopped down next to Finn, wrapping his hand in her fingers, letting her fall against his chest.
“Rough day at the office?”
“To say the least, yeah.”
“No,” he cut her off, his eyes burning. “Not yet.”
She tightened her fingers intertwined with his, cupped her free hand on his cheek, stroked the neglected stubble of his chin with her thumb.
He nuzzled into the palm of her hand, as his face twitched and nose sniffled up air, because if he opened his mouth he knew, he just knew that he would start crying and neither of them needed that right now.
What he needed, what they both needed, was to be reminded that love will conquer everything, and so he nudged himself closer to her. His eyes were shut, holding back the hot, burning tears that teased him as he used his lips to find hers, to lock them together in a display of understanding, compassion, connection.
“I have never felt such love,” he whispered softly, a declaration, to remind himself that he can still love. “I love you, Julie Finlay.”
“I love you, Nick Stokes,” Finn whispered back, before she let go of his hand, he fumbled for it, until he felt it cusp his other cheek, felt her bring his face somehow even closer than it already was, their bodies melting and becoming one.
A much needed reminder, that he can still be loved.