Sometimes, Fred still had to remind herself that she was safe and that she wasn't going to wake up on the damp floor of her cave, cold and dirty and hungry, grasping the stone dagger she had made for a weapon. It usually happened when she was alone and everything went really quiet for a moment, causing her to stop breathing in fear.
But then Max would come rushing up to her and lick her face, nuzzling her as he whined for attention, and Fred would know that this wasn't a dream. She was home with Nick, the man she had thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with before she had found herself in Pylea, lost and a slave. After she had been there for so long, she had started to think he was just something she had made up to keep from going crazy during the beatings she had endured or the long nights in the cave once she had escaped. She didn't want to think that she had left him alone while she got lost, and when he showed up in her room at the Hyperion, she had thought he was still in her mind until the moment he touched her, and for the first time since she had driven back through the portal with Angel and Wesley and Lorne, she felt like she was actually home.
Because of Nick, she wasn't writing on the walls anymore. He never made her feel like she was wrong because of what she had been through, he hadn't thought she was crazy because of her talk of vampires and demons and monsters, and he never laughed at her when she asked seemingly silly questions, things she felt she needed to know because she couldn't remember. But no matter what else she had forgotten, she remembered what she and Nick had together. She remembered and had fallen even more in love with him because he been so wonderful and loving and amazing with her since they had come back.
He was her Nick and always would be.
Moving with him to Las Vegas had helped as well because she didn't feel like things had changed and left her behind everywhere she looked the way she did in Los Angeles. Slowly, she had started to find her feet again in this world - going shopping, walking freely outside, meeting Nick's co-workers. She was even starting to feel that she might even go back to school, finish her degree, but in the meantime, she was trying to catch up - reading everything she could find, from the library and bookstores and on the Internet.
But she still occasionally have those moments where she would fear that she was back in Pylea. It happened that day while she was sitting in the living room, reading on book on recent Physics theory Nick had found for her. She had frozen for a moment, staring at the page. She had wanted to hide under the nearest table in case there were Pyleans around until Max had brought her out of it. As she pet him, she was once again glad that Nick had rescued him and brought him home - she felt a kinship with him in that both of them had been hurt and were recovering in their own ways.
Getting up, she crossed over to put the book away as she heard Nick come into the house. When he walked up behind her, she felt herself melt against him and closed her eyes, smiling when she felt his lips on her neck.
"Pretty good," she told him before turning around and looking in his eyes. She couldn't lie to him, though - she never would, not after everything. "I had a small episode a few minutes ago, but it's not as bad as it used to be, and you're home now, so now I'm even better."
She hugged him tightly, breathing in his scent deeply. Soap and aftershave - she had remembered that for so long, and it comforted her even now, being back with him. Pulling back a little, she leaned up and gave him a soft, deep kiss before looking toward the kitchen.
"Did you get dinner?" she asked.
Nick grinned when Fred turned around and looked at him. His smile faltered a bit when she admitted to having an episode. He wished there was more he could do for her but Nick knew she needed time. Just like he needed time after being attacked by the cable guy, who'd been stalking him. He knew someday Fred would get over it. Until then, he would be there for her.
"I'm sorry, darlin'," he said before he found Fred's lips on his. He returned the kiss, moaning at her sweet taste. It was so Fred.
When they broke apart, he smiled and softly tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "Maybe," he said, giving her a playful grin. "Maybe not. How much trouble would I be in if I said I didn't get tacos but instead a big slab of liver." He quickly took her hands in his so she wouldn't smack him. "I got tacos. Why don't you clear off the coffee table? We can eat out here and snuggle on the couch."
Nick then cupped her face and gave her a soft kiss before pulling back. "I love you, Fred and I'm always going to be here for you," he seriously said before releasing her hands. With Max following him. he went into the kitchen and took the tacos out of the bag and placed them on a set of trays he had. Once he'd put some napkins on the trays, too, he brought the food and drinks out to the living room. "Dinner is served," he said before setting the tray on the coffee table and sitting down on the couch.
"Mmmm...it's okay," she whispered. "Definitely better now that you're here."
When he asked if he was in trouble for getting liver instead of the tacos, Fred's eyes widened as he grabbed her hands, holding them away from her body. He knew she hated liver - always had, would never touch the stuff. She knew he had to be joking but was relieved when he admitted it, telling her that the tacos were there.
"Dinner while snuggling on the couch sounds wonderful," Fred told him, leaning up in his kiss. "And I love you too."
She stood there for a moment, watching him as he turned to go into the kitchen with Max on his heels. She had always thought he was beautiful, and he had grown even more so in the years they had been apart in her opinion. Maybe it was because she hadn't seen him in so long before he had walked into her room, she wasn't sure. All that mattered was that she thought he had...and she was thankful and considered herself very lucky that he had waited for her to come back.
Turning, she went over to the coffee table and quickly cleared up the magazines and notepads and books that were sitting there. She had sort of been jumping around from thing to thing, finding herself going off on tangents as something would remind her that she needed to check something else, which she would do. That was how she had ended up reading the Physics book - she had run across reference to a theory on a website.
After getting all of that stacked up and pushed aside, she grabbed the laptop Nick had given her to use and put it in standby before shutting the lid and placing it aside too. She had just finished when Nick came out of the kitchen with the tray of tacos and soda.
"That smells good," she said, sitting beside him on the couch and snuggling up to him while they began eating. "I know we've been eating a lot of tacos recently, and you're probably getting sick of them and all, but...for some reason, it's comforting. Reminds me of our first date - getting tacos before we went to see Garth."
Nick unwrapped the tacos and sat them out before picking one up. "Made sure they made them fresh when I was there," he said, giving her a smile. He picked the tomatoes out, never being a fan, and fed them to Max. He then looked at Fred again, his smile still in place. Some people saw snuggling and eating as some silly, but to Nick, it was where he wanted to be. He would do this every night if it meant Fred was with him.
"I don't mind the tacos. Better than that greasy diner Warrick always made me go to before and after work. Plus, it's what my girl wants so who am I to argue," Nick commented as he finished off one of his tacos. He looked over at his duffle that he'd dropped in the living room before looking at her again. "That was also the night your daddy caught us in the barn, making out. I thought he was going to whip my ass."
Chuckling, he shook his head and took a drink of his soda. Roger had been so protective of Fred when they were younger - he still was but now he seemed to respect Nick more, especially since he was taking care of Fred and protecting her. They knew Nick would do everything in his power to protect their daughter. And it was the truth - Nick would do anything to make sure Fred was safe and protective.
He finished off his second taco and leaned back on the couch. Nick pulled Fred back with him and wrapped his arms around him. "You smell good," he murmured as he nuzzled her neck. He wanted nothing more than to take her to bed but he wanted to show her the autopsy photos first. Nick knew she could probably shed more light on what was going on. "When you're finished eating, I have something to show you. I think we might have demons in Las Vegas."
"You're so good to me," Fred told Nick, returning his smile as she took a taco and started to eat it. She had to laugh when he took the tomatoes out - some things never changed, and for that, she was grateful.
As she leaned against him, she finished her taco and reached over for another one, remembering their first date. She usually didn't let boys touch her after one date, but with Nick, everything had been different - and they had known each other for a while anyway - so after the concert, they had snuck around the house to the barn. When her dad had found them, wrapped in each other, she had been afraid that their first date would also be their last date.
Luckily, it wasn't, and her dad had grown to accept Nick over time.
"Well, it was kinda worth it, you know," she told him. "Always did think you were great kisser. I even remembered that in Pylea."
She had just finished the taco and was reaching for a third when he pulled her back against him, kissing her neck, causing her to close her eyes and sigh softly in contentment, the food forgotten for a moment.
"Hmmm...you feel good..." she told him before he said he had something to show her and mentioned demons. Turning around, she looked at him. "Well, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised since according to Wesley, demons are everywhere, and some are good and some are bad, and...since you work for a crime scene investigation unit, we're not talking about good demons, are we?"
She looked at the food, then shook her head and looked back at him. "What do you want me to look at?" she asked softly.
Once the words had left his mouth, Nick started to worry. He didn't know if Fred was ready to look at dead bodies, or talk about demons. He never wanted to hurt her and was afraid she might get upset over him pushing her too soon. But, when she said she'd look at the things, Nick felt relief. He needed to start having more faith in her and her recovery.
Standing from the couch, Nick picked up his duffle bag and unzipped it. "A couple weeks ago, Grissom and I did a crime scene out in the desert. The body was pretty torn up and was covered in some sort of substance," he started to explain as he pulled out a report Greg had snuck to him. Normally, Nick wouldn't take evidence from the crime lab but since the case was closed, and it was obvious the victim wasn't killed by a human, he made an expectation to the rules.
"Greg did a toxic report on the substance and it came up as unknown," Nick said as he handed the reports to Fred. Greg was smart, but Fred was smarter. "I don't know if you can make anything out of it. I wish I still had some of the substance but Greg got rid of it once the case was closed."
He then rooted through the bag and pulled out the autopsy photos. "These are pictures taken of the victim before Doc Robbins did the autopsy. You can see some of the substance on her clothes. We were made to close the case and say her cause of death was because of a wild animal," Nick said before rubbing his forehead. "I have a friend looking into it and seeing if there's been similar killings in the surrounding areas. I don't know. I just don't like the idea of demons roaming around town."
Mostly because he didn't want them hurting Fred.
Biting her lip, Fred reached up and took the reports from Nick as he explained what had been going on. She vaguely remembered he mentioning the case before, saying that there were some strange aspects that needed further investigating. Opening the folder, she furrowed her brow as she read over the chemical breakdown.
"That's not right - those two chemicals shouldn't be able to co-exist together in the same space without combusting...or at the very least causing corosion." She tapped a line that had several compounds that hadn't been identified at all. "Maybe one of these kept those from doing that? I wish you had some of the substance too, but maybe I can contact Wesley and ask if he's ever heard of some of this stuff - he's had a lot more experience with it than me after all. Most of what I know right now if from books...and...well, you know."
She looked up at him and took the pictures, nodding when he said they had officially attributed the death to a wild animal. That happened a lot, Wesley had told her, and it hadn't surprised her, after some of the things she had seen in Pylea. Turning her attention to the picture, she gasped at the sight of the mutilated body.
"Oh, my God," she whispered before looking up at Nick. "Nick, I...I recognize this. In Pylea, there was a demon monster...big and ugly, like a...a...I couldn't even describe it if I wanted to, but sometimes slaves would go missing, and when their bodies were found...they...it looked like this. I...I didn't think they lived in our dimension."
A possibility about the demons and how they were in their dimension started to cross her mind, but she quickly shied away from it, not wanting to consider that possibility. "We definitely need to show this to Wesley somehow."
Nick listened to Fred speak and slowly nodded his head. He knew a lot about science, but not as much as Fred. "Greg said the same thing but just figured the machine was off and sent it off to get fixed," he said. When Fred looked at the pictures, he moved closer to her and placed his hand on her back, making sure she knew he was there for her if she needed him.
"Pylea?" he asked. His first instinct was to pull the pictures away and not let her look at them anymore. He wanted to protect her from everything in the world, and never wanted her to be reminded of what happened before. But, Nick didn't. He knew Fred was strong and would stop if she needed to.
When she mentioned getting a hold of Wesley, he furrowed his brow. "We can call him in the morning and fax the pictures to him. I know of I place we can fax them from," he said as he carefully removed the pictures from her hands. "I think that's enough for now. We can figure out more tomorrow after getting a hold of Wes." He placed the papers away, knowing if he allowed Fred to keep them, she would be up most of the night, researching.
"How about we do something else that doesn't involve demons?" he asked as he stood from the couch and held out his hand. "I really missed my girlfriend today and would like to spend some time with her, in bed. If that's alright with her."
Having Nick's hand on her back, offering support, helped Fred to keep her mind from running away with her. She didn't know what kind of demon this might be - though she was sure it was a demon. For all she knew, there was a similar kind of demon here in this dimension. For all she knew...for all she knew...
She looked up at Nick, nodding when he said they'd call him in the morning. Wesley was their best bet to figure this out - for all her time in Pylea, she was still figuring stuff like this out. She was wondering if she could find more information on the Internet to give to Wesley when Nick pulled the pictures from her hands and put them away, but before she could protest he was holding his hand out to her.
"I missed you too," she told him softly, taking his hand and letting him help her up. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she leaned forward to kiss him before giving him a smile. "And I think so time together in bed would be wonderful."
She hadn't been certain, not that long ago, if she would be ready to sleep with Nick again, after all that had happened and the time they had been apart. But he had been so sweet and gentle with her that when the time had come, being back in his arms as he made love to her had seemed right and amazing.
Reaching down, she took his hand and led him into the bedroom. Max seemed to realize what they were planning, so he stayed where he was, curled up in his chair. Inside the room, Fred turned back to Nick.
"I think this was the bed you were referring to," she asked with a smile.
Nick smiled as Fred agreed to go to bed. He'd been worried she would want to sit out there and stare the pictures all night long. After giving Max a look, wondering if he was ever going to give him back his favorite chair, Nick followed Fred into their bedroom. He closed the door behind him and glanced over at the bed.
"I believe it is, darling," he said before he leaned down and softly kissed her.
As they kissed, he reached down and tugged at the hem of her shirt. He pulled back long enough to pull it over her head before kissing her neck. Nick's hand moved around to her back and easier unclasped her bra. With his mouth still on her neck, he pulled her bra off and moved his mouth down to her breasts.
"You smell so good," Nick said as he nuzzled against the soft skin of her breast. He found one of her nipples and sucked on it, moaning as it hardened in his mouth.
His hands moved down to her jeans and he unbuttoned them, knowing he needed her naked. As he moved his mouth to her other nipple, he pulled her jeans and panties down. Taking a step back, he groaned at the sight of her. "You're so beautiful, Fred," he whispered as he felt himself start to strain against his jeans.
He wanted nothing more than to strip his clothes off and thrust into her, but he wanted to pleasure her first. With a smile, he took her hand and had her sit on the edge of the bed. He kneeled down and hissed a little. Reaching down, he undid his jeans and unzipped them to give himself some relief.
Nick then wrapped his arm around her waist and looked up at her. "Just enjoy for now," he murmured before he dipped his head down and started to suck on her clit as pushed two fingers inside of her.
When Nick pulled on her shirt, Fred raised her arms, letting him pull it off her, shivering a little in the air conditioned chill of the room. A soft moan escaped from her mouth at the feel of his lips on her, especially when they closed around her nipple. The sensation almost sent her stumbling, so she wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight to keep from falling over.
"Nick," she exhaled, her eyes fluttering close. Oh God, the things he made her feel. Even though she had come to think she had made him up during her time in Pylea, the moment he had touched, it had all come rushing back just how real he was and how he made her feel. She was so caught up in it that she wasn't completely aware of him pulling her jeans and underwear off until he had pulled back, telling her she was beautiful.
When she had come back, she hadn't felt beautiful. After five years of feeling dirty and messy, she hadn't thought she could ever be beautiful, especially with the scars now crossing her back from where her Pylean owners had beat her. She had been so scared to let him see her, see those, because it would be a reminder that she wasn't the Fred he had been in love with anymore. But even with the scars, he had looked at her the same way, touched her the same way, and that more than anything made her feel beautiful.
"So are you," she told him, wanting to reach out and pull his clothes off, but before she could, he was gently drawing her down to the bed and kneeling in front of her.
Moments later, she felt his mouth on her clit and his fingers inside her, causing her to grab the bedspread as her hips bucked up against him. The sudden wave of sensations through her almost robbed her of her breath. "Nick..."
His touch quickly sent her spiraling toward that edge. More, she need more. Needed to come, needed him inside her, needed to know that he'd always been there and never let her go. It crashed over her, making it hard to think and speak. All she had ever wanted was Nick, and she had him back.
"Oh...oh God," she groaned, the need was quickly heading toward overload, and she didn't know if she'd be able to take it until she let out a cry, her body tensing for a moment before she came hard against his hand and tongue.
Nick continued to lick and suck, his fingers thrusting into her harder. He loved everything about her - her scent, her taste, and the little sounds she made as she got closer to edge. He could always tell when she was getting close so he started to lick and suck even harder, his fingers going even faster.
When she cried out, her muscles contracting around his fingers, Nick felt his cock throb. He closed his eyes, willing himself to not come as he licked her clean. Gently removing his fingers, he licked them clean and then stood from the floor. Reaching down, he pulled his jeans and boxers down, sighing in relief, his cock finally free from their confines.
Sitting down, he softly kissed her lips, his hands running over her flushed body. He pulled back and pulled off his shirt, and dropped it to the floor. "I love you so much, Fred," he whispered as his eyes ticked over to the bedside table. Inside were two things he wanted to pull out but he didn't know if it was the right time.
With a sigh, he leaned over and took a condom out of the drawer. He then reached down and pulled out the lock box from under it. He smiled at Fred and handed her the condom. "You can decide on that. You may not want me anymore after what I'm about to do," he said before unlocked the box.
Inside was a small black box and he took it out. "A couple of weeks before you went missing, I bought this. I kept it, hoping to give it to you some day. There was even a period of time when I wore it because I needed you closer to my heart," he said as he looked Fred in the eyes.
Nick then opened the box, revealing a small engagement ring with a single diamond. "It was all I could afford back then and I'm sure I can get something better now. I just want to spend forever with you," he said, his erection forgotten. "Will you marry me, Fred?"
Fred moaned softly when Nick removed his fingers, still throbbing and shuddering a bit. Opening her eyes, she watched him take off his jeans, smiling at the sight of him - she always thought he was adorable just wearing his shirt and nothing else. It also was quite a turn-on, especially since she could see his erection and knew it was because of her.
As he hands ran over her, she shuddered a bit again and kissed him. "I love you too," she whispered, wanting to feel him against her now that he was completely naked. When he handed her the condom from the nightstand, she took it, then frowned a bit in confusion at his comment. "What do you mean - might not want you anymore?"
She couldn't ever imagine not wanting him in her life. Even when she had thought he was a figment of her imagination, she had wanted him.
Suddenly it seemed, Nick had something in his hand, and Fred felt her heart pounding. He hadn't... He... Listening to him, she felt tears welling in her eyes. He had been planning this more than five years ago? He had kept it this long?
"You--this--every since...?" she said, her voice catching in her throat. She looked at the ring. It was perfect. He was perfect. She wrapped her arms around him tightly, kissing him. "Yes. Yes, I'll marry you, and don't you dare get me another ring. I want this one because you've had with you all this time, and that means more than any other ring ever could. Yes."
Nick thickly swallowed, hoping Fred wouldn't get upset. Maybe this was too soon and maybe he was moving too fast for her. He probably was and he was about to pull the ring back, and tell her to forget about it, when she started to speak. She wanted to marry him. Fred wanted to marry him. A lump formed in his throat as he kissed her.
Pulling back, Nick blinked his eyes and tears slipped down his cheeks. "I love you so much. I...thank you. Thank you for making me whole again and taking all the loneliness away. And, thank you for agreeing to be my wife," he said with a soft cry. Reaching into the box, he pulled out the ring. He slipped it on her finger, smiling when he saw it fit. "I love you so much."
Nick leaned over and softly kissed her as he nudged her back on the bed. He continued to kiss her as he felt his cock harden again as it brushed against her thigh. His mouth moved down her neck as his erection ran over her wet folds. Nick wanted to plunge himself into her without any sort of barrier, but wanted her to make the decision. Moving up to his knees, he handed her the condom again.
"It's up to you, darling," he said.
When Fred saw Nick's tears, she started crying as well. Married. They were getting married after so long and after her getting so lost. The dreams she had in Pylea that she had once never thought would ever come true were now.
"Thank you for waiting for me," she whispered as he put the ring on her finger. "Thank you for believing I'd come back to you and holding on to this and still wanting to marry me. I love you more than anything."
As they kissed, she let Nick moved her back down onto the bed, and when she felt him press against her, she began throbbing, wanting him so badly. He moved away, however, causing her to groan, then realized why when he held up the condom to her.
But he was letting her choose whether she wanted them to use it.
Fred's hand closed over his for a minute, holding the condom between them, as she looked into his eyes. She wanted to feel him, all of him, inside her, but were they ready for the possibility of a baby? They were going to get married, and she knew that after everything they had been through to get back to this point, they could face anything together.
Although, she didn't know if she would ever be able to have a baby. She didn't know what Pylea's food and environment might have done to her. Did she want them at some point to plan and hope and then find out they couldn't?
Deciding, she took the condom and tossed it aside. "Whatever happens, happens," she said softly before wrapped her arms and legs around him to pull him closer.
Nick looked down at Fred and stared into her eyes. He couldn't believe he was there with her. There were plenty of times when he would pinch himself because he was afraid this was all a dream. He never wanted to be away from her again. And, when she tossed the condom to the side, and spoke, Nick grinned at her.
"I love you," he whispered as he gently pushed a strand of hair off her forehead. He then placed his hands on her hips and slowly pushed inside of her.
Oh god, Fred was so tight and warm and wet. They had never made love like this before. There was always barrier between them but being able to give her all of him felt so good. "You feel so good," he murmured against her neck. He took a deep breath and recited baseball stats in his head, afraid if he didn't he would come right away.
Lifting his head, Nick started to slowly thrust inside of her. He softly kissed her as his fingers ran over her soft skin. "I'm going to love you forever," he whispered as he bent his head and captured one of her nipples with his lips. He sucked on it until it was hard and moved to the other one.
He started to quicken his movements as his hand moved down her body and found her clit. Rubbing it in tight circles, Nick shuddered and groaned. "I'm not going to last much longer, darling," he said with a strained voice.
"Always," Fred moaned as Nick entered her, her hips arching up to meet him. "Ohhh..."
It felt so different without the condom, so wonderful. Closing her eyes, she wrapped herself around him as they lay there together for several moments, his face against her neck. He was the only person she trusted there now that she knew the vampires truly existed. He was the only one she'd ever be with like this.
When he started thrusting into her, she moved with him, pleasure starting to build as he touched her. His words washed over her, and she knew that what he was telling her was true. He had continued to love her while she was gone, waiting for her to come home; the proof was on her finger and in the way he made love to her.
"The only one, Nick," she promised. "My only one."
When his finger began rubbing her clit, she gasped, jerking her hips up, a small series of trembles rushing through her. She knew she was getting closer, hanging on that edge, wanting to come, needing to come.
"I...oh..." she choked out before it suddenly hit her, her body shaking as she began spasming around his cock. "Nick!"
When Fred started to shudder underneath him, Nick groaned and started to push harder insider of her. Suddenly, she was coming and Nick found himself trapped inside of her. He tried to move but before he could, everything inside of him exploded inside of her, emptying his seed deep within her. He quickly caught himself before he fell on her.
Licking his lips, he took a few deep breaths and looked down at her. "That was so wonderful, darling," he said as he leaned down and nuzzled her neck. Suddenly, the phone started to ring and Nick looked over at it. He didn't want to move and risk slipping out of her. She felt too wonderful for that to happen.
When it stopped ringing, Nick smiled. "I'm sure the machine picked it up or they'll call back," he said before leaning down to softly kiss her. "I love you, Fred," he said as the phone started to ring again. He sighed and shook his head. "I better get that."
He carefully slipped out of her and reached over for the cordless phone. It as his contact and Nick spoke to him a few moments before hanging the phone up. He turned and looked at Fred. "That was Jack. Supposedly, the same sort of murders happened in a town named Sunnydale in California. All of the cases were closed right away because 'wild animal attacks' happen a lot there. He said it's about three hours from LA. Do you think Wes would know of the place?" he asked.
When Nick came, Fred felt his warmth flooding through her, so unlike anything she had ever felt before. It caused her to shudder a little longer as she held onto him tightly until finally, she fell back against the bed, feeling a bit like jello. She could still keenly feel his cock inside her and didn't want him to pull out, didn't want to lose the connection between them.
"That was amazing," she agreed softly, turning her head to rub her cheek against the side of his head. When she was with him, she felt more at home and normal again than she ever thought possible.
She wanted to just hold him inside her for however long she could, but just then the phone rang. Groaning, she let her head fall back. Nick didn't move, however, causing her to smile. Let the world give them a break - they had just go engaged more than five years later than planned. They deserved to have this moment to themselves.
But the phone started ringing again, and they both knew that Nick needed to answer it. When he slid out of her, Fred felt a bit of a loss, but at the same time, she knew that they would be doing this again. Again and again and again. While he spoke to the person on the other end, she pushed herself up onto her elbows, watching him, sometimes amazed with how clearly she had remembered him even when she thought she had made him and she had been forgetting other things, like the fact that she had been born and raised in this dimension. The way he stood, the way his mouth moved - she had remembered it all.
When he hung up the phone and told her what Jack had said, she furrowed her brow. Sunnydale sounded familiar. "I...I think he might. I seem to remember Wesley talking about that place when he was telling me about vampires and Slayers and Watchers." She thought for a minute, trying to sort through all the information. "Hellmouth. It's where the Slayer lives."
Her eyes opened wide. "Oh, Nick - we definitely have to tell Wesley about this now!"
Nick watched Fred has realization came to her face. Vampires, Slayer, and Hellmouth. He knew about vampires and about how the Slayer killed them, but the Hellmouth? Had she told him about that? There was so much she told him, and so much they'd looked up together, that he couldn't remember.
"If these demons are killing in Sunnydale, do you think that means something happened to the Slayer?" Nick asked as his brow furrowed. "I mean, if I were a demon, I wouldn't go and hang out where the Slayer lives. That'll be like killing a person in front of a CSI. And from what you've told me and from what we've read, some demons are pretty smart. It doesn't make sense."
He pulled Fred into his arms and nuzzled her hair as he continued to think. "But, didn't it say when a Slayer dies, a new one is made? And if there's a Hellmouth in Sunnydale, then why didn't the new one go there?" Nick shook his head. "I think it's a good idea to call Wes and see if he knows anything about it."
Nick reached over and handed the phone to Fred. "And, what's a Hellmouth?" he asked with a sheepish look.
"I don't know," Fred said, rubbing the back of her neck as her brow furrowed. "Wesley said a lot of bad stuff happened in Sunnydale, and that's why they need the Slayer there, so maybe these demons don't care. Or maybe they want the Slayer--what was her name...?" She shook her head, unable to remember. "Maybe they want her to know they're there."
She cuddled against Nick, just as worried as him about why this demon was in Vegas when it seemed that Sunnydale would have been more its speed. "It did...but I think that the Slayer in Sunnydale was already replaced once because she died, and the Slayer that could be replaced is in prison, so unless they're both dead..." Her head was starting to hurt from trying to figure all of this out when all they knew was that the same kind of demon had killed both there and in Sunnydale. "I think calling Wes would be a very good idea."
Taking the phone, she reached over to her side of the bed and picked up the notebook Wesley had given her, flipping it open to find where she had written down his cell phone number. "The hellmouth is just that - an entrance to hell. Apparently, the guy who founded the town knew it was there, so he built there on purpose. He wanted to use its power or something. It's been stopped from opening a few times...and we really don't want it opened."
Finally, she found the number and dialed, hoping for Wesley to pick up. The phone just continued to ring and ring until it went to voice mail. "Wesley, this is Fred. I know we haven't talked or anything since I left with Nick, and I hope you're okay, but I need to talk to you because there's something going on. There was an attack here in Vegas that looks like it was done by demon that lived in Pylea, only I didn't think it lived in this dimension either. And it's apparently attacked in Sunnydale. Nick and I were hoping you might be able to give us so more information and help us with this because if these demons are from Pylea..." She trailed off for a moment, looking at Nick. "Please, call when you get this. You have our numbers."
Hanging up the phone, she sighed and curled back into Nick's arms, still afraid to think about how these demons were here if they were from Pylea.
While Fred was on the phone, Nick slipped out of the bed and opened the door. Max, like always, was sitting by the door, wanting to go to bed. The dog limped into the room and went over to his dog bed. After walking around in circles, he finally plopped down. Nick shook his head and climbed back into the bed.
As Fred left a message for Wes, Nick softly stroked her thigh. When she mentioned Pylea, he stiffened a little - just hearing the name of that place caused chills to run down his spine, and he hadn't even been there.
When Fred finished with the call, Nick gather her in his arms. "Hopefully he'll call soon," he said before softly kissing her on the top of the head. It was getting late, and even though he didn't have to work the following day, Nick found himself starting to nod off. "I'll keep the phone by the bed tonight in case he calls."
He pulled the covers over them and snuggled closer to her. "Night, baby. I love you," he whispered before falling asleep.
The following morning, Nick was woke up when Max nudged his cold nose against his hand. He pushed his eyes open and carefully removed himself from Fred's arms. "C'mon, boy, lets go make breakfast for Fred, alright?" he said as he slipped out of the bed.
After Nick slipped on a pair of boxers on, Max followed him out of the room and to the backdoor. Nick let him out and then filled his bowls up with food and water. After setting them on the floor, Nick let the dog back in and went to work on making some sausage and egg burritos for Fred.
Once the food was finished, Nick placed the plates on a tray, along with some orange juice, and took it to the bedroom. He sat the trays down on the dresser and crouched by Fred's side of the bed. "Hey," he softly whispered as he ran his fingers over his cheeks. "I made you breakfast."
"I love you too, Nick," Fred murmured before she fell asleep, her arm wrapped around him.
Her dreams were a bit strange that night, a mishmash of images and events. Nick was there, but he wasn't exactly Nick. He felt like Nick, though, and they held each other and made love and whispered about how they had to be careful about being found out. Then they were fighting together, and he was teaching her how to use a crossbow. Raising the crossbow, she hit a vampire in the chest causing it disappear in a puff of smoke. There was something in the distance, so she ran toward it, only to find herself in a cave, staring at a weapon she had never seen before, a woman telling her it was too soon - she wasn't meant to use it. She wanted to ask why, but before she could, she was back with Nick in bed, his hand gently rubbing over her belly, which was swelled. She felt a kick, and instead of happiness, she felt anguish as she was unexpectedly sitting alone, in a dark place.
Give them back to me. Give them back, give them back, give them back.
Suddenly, she felt a gentle touch on her cheek and came awake, her eyes fluttering open. Nick was kneeling in front of her, telling her he had made her breakfast, and for a moment, all Fred wanted to do was throw her arms around him and never let him go ever again.
Instead, she leaned forward and pulled him in for a deep kiss, the feel of his lips against hers pushing away the remnants of the dream. When they parted, she looked at him with a smile as she touched his temple with the back of her hand. "I have the best fiance in whole entire world," she told him softly.
Sitting up, she ran a hand through her hair, then looked over at the phone on the nightstand on Nick's side of the bed. "I take it Wesley hasn't called," she said. "Hope he's okay since he was trying to run that agency by himself when we left."
Nick could tell something was off about Fred and the way she looked. Had she had another nightmare about Pylea? Even though she was slowly recovering from it, there were still nights when she would have a bad dream and he would wake up with her, and hold her until she felt safe enough to sleep. He wanted to ask but knew Fred would tell him in time.
"And, I have the best girl in all of the universe," he said with a grin before he kissed her cheek. He stood up and allowed his eyes to tick over toward the phone. "Nothing yet. Not even a voice mail. Maybe after breakfast you can try him again. Maybe he had a late night last night and is still sleeping or something."
Leaning over, he softly kissed the top of Fred's head and moved over to the dresser to retrieve the food. Once he had it, he came back to the bed and carefully sat the tray down before slipping in beside her. "This one's yours since it has gross tomatoes in it," he said, winking at her. He handed her the plate and her glass of orange juice.
After getting situated on the bed, Nick started to eat his burrito. "Maybe we can do something this afternoon. Maybe go down to the strip and check out some of the shops," he suggested. Even though he lived there, Nick still found himself enthralled with the strip at times. Plus, it was always fun to find new places to go.
He was about to suggest a shop Warrich had told him about but he was cut off when the phone started to ring. Nick looked down at the caller ID and saw Wesley's name pop up. "It's Wesley," he said as he handed the phone to her.
"Tomatoes are not gross," Fred told him with a laugh, taking the plate and glass from him. She set the orange juice down on the table before starting to eat. "You make the best breakfast burritos ever."
After taking a few bites, she reached over for her juice and nodded. "That sounds like fun. I've been wanting to see some more of the strip," she told him. She didn't know how long it would take Wesley to get back to her, and it would be good to have something to take her mind off things.
The phone began ringing, however, as she took a drink of her juice. Quickly, she set the glass down again and took the receiver from Nick to answer the call. "Wesley, hey, thanks for calling back. I hope I didn't interrupt something, but when I saw the pictures, I knew that it had to be one of those demons from Pylea, and I knew you might be able to help."
There was a pause for a moment and then a chuckle. "Hello to you too, Fred."
Fred blushed. "Oh. Hi."
"It's good to hear from you, even if it is because of demons. Are you and Nick all right otherwise?"
Looking over at Nick, she nodded even though she knew Wesley couldn't see her. "We're good. We're getting married."
"That's wonderful news," Wesley said, and she could tell that he was really happy for them.
"How are you?"
"I'm well. I'm in Sunnydale at the moment, which is why I wasn't able to return you call right away. Which also part of what peaked my interest in your voice mail message. You said there's a demon from Pylea attacking in Vegas and Sunnydale?"
"Yes." Fred then went onto explain what the file Nick had brought home had said and how she recognized how the victims were torn apart. She finished by telling him about the call Nick had got about the Sunnydale attacks. "Is the Slayer...Buffy...is she still there?"
She could have sworn Wesley was smiling when he answered. "Yes, she is. I'm actually here with her at the moment. I really don't know what to tell you, Fred. I haven't heard anything about these attacks. I could do some checking, though. It would help if I could see those files from Nick, too. And since you have firsthand knowledge about these demons..."
"You want us to come to Sunnydale?" She looked over at Nick, not sure what he would think of that.
"Well, it might be best. It sounds like the majority of them have taken place here."
Fred nodded. "I'll talk to Nick about it. I'll let you, okay?"
"All right. Talk to you later, Fred."
She hung up the phone and looked at her fiance. "So...um...Wesley thinks it would be best for us to go to Sunnydale. He wants to see the files, and he think I could help him because I've seen...I've seen these attacks before."
After handing the phone to Fred, Nick went back to his plate. When he felt something cold and wet against his nose, he looked down at Max. He picked some of the tomatoes off Fred's plate and handed them to the dog as Fred continued to talk on the phone. Max suddenly moved, acting like he wanted up on the bed. Nick helped him up and allowed him to lie down between Fred and him.
He ran his fingers through the dog's fur, smiling when Fred told Wes about their engagement. He still couldn't believe they were getting married - even if it was some time off. When Fred ended the call, Nick looked over at her. When she said they should go to Sunnydale, Nick furrowed his brow for a moment and then nodded. "If that's the best way to do it, then we should go. Let me back a few phone calls so word knows I won't be around for a few days."
Nick gave Fred a kiss and picked up the phone. He called Grissom, and told the older man he was going out of town for his days off. After finishing the call, Nick looked down at Max and sighed. "Do you want to take him with or leave him here?" he asked, not knowing what would be best for the dog. He knew he could ask Warrick to take care of him, but Nick really didn't want to leave the dog behind.
"I think we should take him. He can lie in the back of the Tahoe and be comfortable," he said as he stood from the bed and got a couple of bags out of the closet. "We can put some blankets back there for him."
Fred was relieved when Nick agreed that they should go to Sunnydale, knowing that it was the best way to go about things. If that demon was lose in their dimension, that wasn't good at all, and if she--she shook her head. She didn't know exactly how the demon or demons had got there. For all she knew, they had come over on purpose. Or something had sent them.
Getting up from the bed, she started pulling things out of drawers and setting them on the bed. She was trying to figure out what would be the best to take and how much she should take when Nick asked about Max. Like Nick, she didn't want to leave him behind either - he was too important to both of them.
"I think we should take him," she agreed, reaching over and scratching Max behind his ears. The dog responded by thumping his tail against the bed. "You'll be fine in the back of the Tahoe, and it'll be good to have you with us. You can watch out for us just the way you always do."
Taking one of the bags Nick retrieved, she looked up at him for a moment before leaning up and kissing him softly. "Thank you for this, Nick," she told him. "I know you've been through a lot with me, coming back and all that, but I know we can figure out what's going on with Wesley's help."
She smiled. "And then once we're done, we can start planning for our wedding. I'm sure our mothers are going to be thrilled when they find out."
Nick grinned when Fred agreed to take Max with them. He knew they couldn't just let him stay there by himself. Plus, he couldn't think of anyone who would've taken the dog for them. "I think you just made him very happy," Nick said as Max got excited over the thought of taking a ride in the Tahoe. The dog loved riding in it. "I just hope Wesley doesn't mind the dog."
When Fred kissed and thanked him, Nick grinned. He reached up and swiped a piece of hair off her face. "Anything for you, darlin'," he whispered as he looked into her eyes. "I promised I'd always be here for you and I intend to keep that promise. I would do anything for my girl. And yeah, I pretty sure our moms are going to be more than happy. They've probably already planned our wedding."
Stepping back, he started to place some of his clothes into bag, along with his gun. Once he was finished, he went over to the closet and looked through it. He picked out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to wear. He figured they didn't have time to shower since the drive to Sunnydale was going to take a few hours.
After changing, he looked over to Fred and smiled. "I'm going to get Max's things together and then we can head out. I don't want to arrive there too late," he said before slipping out of the room.
"I don't know what Wesley thinks of animals," Fred admitted, furrowing her brow. "Hopefully, he'll understand. He's our watchdog. Aren't you, boy?"
As Max jumped down off the bed and Fred looked up into Nick's eyes after they kissed, she smiled softly, knowing how lucky she was. A wonderful dog and an even more wonderful fiance. Because of that, she knew whatever was going one with these attacks, they'd figure it out and get through it. She couldn't wait for them to be married, finally, after all the time they had spent apart. Even if their mothers did take over everything. She'd put up with anything they decided on just so she could stand before everyone and become his wife.
Letting Nick go, Fred started packing some clothes, setting a sundress aside to wear. Nick finished getting dressed when she was still working through her stuff, so she nodded as he left the room to get everything for Max together. Once she had everything that she was taking in the bag, she went into the bathroom and washed her face before pulling her hair back. Then she grabbed their toiletries and threw them in with her clothes before changing.
"Ready to go, boy?" Fred asked Max as she grabbed the bags and the plates and headed out of the bedroom into the living room. She set the bags down in the foyer and took the remains of their breakfast into the kitchen. "Nick, sweetie? Everything is packed. I'll be ready to go once I clean the dishes, so whenever you're finished."
Nick went into the kitchen and started to get Max's things together. He placed the bag of dog food, along with his toys and a few treats, in a box and sat it aside. He then filled out a water bottle with ice cold water so they could give the dog some water on the way to Sunnydale. Nick took the box out to the Tahoe and placed it in the back seat before going back inside.
"I just need to put a blanket in the back for Max and take our bags out and I'll be finished," he commented before looking over at Fred. A smile played on his lips and he went over to her. "I love it when you wear this dress, darlin'." Bending down, he laid several soft kisses on her shoulder before pulling back. "I should probably get things finished so we can leave."
He took the bags out to the truck and then spread a blanket in back for Max. Once the dog was finished going to the bathroom, Nick helped him up into the back and closed the hatch.
"Max and I are ready to go," Nick called into the house. He then went to the truck and got in to wait for Fred.
"Okay, sweetie," Fred said as she put the plates in the sink and started running water over them before reaching for the washing liquid. "This shouldn't take me too long."
She glanced over at him when he kissed her shoulder, blushing a little at his compliment about her dress. "I--thank you." She hadn't even thought about it being his favorite of her outfits when she had pulled it out. Then again, she always felt beautiful, the way he looked at her no matter what she was wearing. He had looked at her like she was the most wonderful thing he had seen even when she had been wearing second-hand clothes with her hair pulled up askew when he had first come to find her in Los Angeles.
As he took the bags out to the Tahoe, Fred washed the dishes and tried them, putting them away in the cabinet. She then pulled the garbage bag out of the can and tied it shut, just as Nick called out that he was ready. After making sure everything was off in the house, she grabbed her purse, taking it and the bag out with her, locking the door behind her. She put the bag out for collection and went to the truck, climbing into the passenger seat.
"All right," she said, taking a deep breath. "Next stop, Sunnydale."
Once Fred was in the truck, and settled, Nick started the engine and pulled out of the driveway. He'd been living and working in Vegas long enough to know of the shortcuts to the interstate. He wasn't in the mood to drive through the strip. He saw the strip enough during his work.
Soon they were pulling out onto the interstate and moving west. "I know how to get to Los Angeles, but not Sunnydale," he said, looking over at Fred. He put the cruise control on and reached over and ran the back of his hand over her thigh. "You're have to be my navigator or we'll end up in Mexico."
They continued to drive for a couple more hours until Max started to whine. Nick figured he needed to use the bathroom. There wasn't any rest stops in sight but he saw a sign for a state park. He took the exit and drove to it. And, once he was parked, and helped Max out of the back.
After Max was tied to a picnic table, Nick stepped over to Fred and placed his hands on her waist. "While Max is stretching his legs, we should find something to occupy our time," he murmured before deeply kissing her.
Fred looked over at Nick when he ran his hand up her thigh, a soft shudder running through her. The way he touched her always made her feel gooey inside and loved. "I...I think I can do that," she said, reaching over and touching his temple. "But you should probably keep your eyes on the road. Don't want to have an accident on the way - I rather like having you to myself in one piece."
As they drove, she reached into the glove compartment and pulled out the map, folding it so she could easily read it. She figured out the route they should take and let Nick know which way to go.
By the time Max started whining, Fred felt she could use a bit of a rest herself. She found that she grew a bit restless when she had to stay in one place for an extended period of time, probably from all the times she had been forced to stay still, hiding from the cow hunters on Pylea. So when they stopped, she got out of the Tahoe and stretched, extending her arms above her head and letting the sun warm her face for a moment. Following Nick over to the picnic table, she smiled when he put his arms around him before closing her eyes as he kissed her.
"Hmmmm, anything specific you have in mind?" she murmured against his lips. She trailed her hands up his side to hook under his arms, pulling him closer. "We didn't bring a picnic lunch, and I don't know if we have time for a hike to see that cliff I saw the sign for back there, but we do seem to be in rather a secluded area..."
With an impish grin, she pushed him down on the picnic bench and straddled his lap, leaning in to kiss him again.
Nick raised an eyebrow when Fred started to talk about picnics and hikes. Those weren't the things he was thinking of. He was about to point out there were other things to do when she started to kiss him. Groaning, he allowed her to push him to a sitting position.
"I think you're right," he whispered before moving his mouth along her jaw and down to her neck. His hands slid down her back and cupped her bum. He nuzzled against her breasts through the material of her dress as his hands slipped under the helm of it.
After a little adjustment, Nick ran his fingers over the soft skin of her thighs. "You're the most beautiful girl in the world," he whispered before kissing her again.
His fingers dipped to her inner thighs and he gently pushed them apart. As he continued to kiss her, his fingers moved up and pushed the material of her panties to the side. He sought out her clit and when he found it, he started to run it in small circles.
"Come for me, Fred," he hoarsely whispered before kissing her again.
"And you're...you're the most wonderful guy," Fred told Nick before letting out a soft sigh, feeling his fingers most up her thigh. At one time, she would have been scared about something like this, outside in broad daylight, but after being apart from him for so long, she wanted nothing more than to share what moments she could with him, no matter where they were.
So she kissed him as she allowed him to push her legs apart, feeling herself tensing a bit in anticipation of what she knew he was about to do. A moment later, sensation sparked through her, and her hips bucked up slightly as he began teasing her. "Oh God, Nick," she moaned, reaching up to lock her hands around the back of his neck, her head falling back.
She pressed against his palm, moving in rhythm to his fingers. It wasn't long before she felt herself tightening up, skating the edge. And when he asked her to come for him, before kissing her, that was all it took to push her over. With a soft cry, she began spasming against his hand, trembling on his lap, not caring if anyone might see them.
After a few moments, she was still shuddering a little, but she knew she wanted to feel him inside her, like she had the night before. Lifting herself up slightly, she reached down between them and unzipped Nick's jeans, pulling them down a bit so she could pull him out. As she looked into his eyes, she stroked him until she felt he was hard enough, then pushed her panties to the side again and positioned herself over him, lowering herself down and taking him inside her.
"Ungh...I--I love feeling you this way," she told him softly.
The more Fred shuddered and groaned, the harder Nick rubbed. He fell himself getting harder but Fred's pleasure came first and foremost. It always would, no matter what happened.
Soon, he was reward with her crying out and her muscles clenching around his fingers. He groaned, almost painfully, as his erection pushed against the zipper of his jeans. Nick wasn't expecting anything back from Fred but knew he would need sometime to cool off before they could start driving again.
When Fred moved on his lap, he carefully removed his fingers from her panties and licked them clean. He then perked an eyebrow as she undid his jeans and pulled his cock out. Nick hissed at the sensation and bucked his hand up as she stroked him. "Darlin', you don't..."
The words died in his throat the moment Fred engulfed him with her tightness. He screwed his eyes shut and started to recite baseball stats in his head, fearing he'd come if he didn't.
Taking a hold of her hips, Nick started thrust up inside of her. The thrusts were deep and hard, and he felt himself shuddering with each one. He didn't think he was going last long, and soon he could feel his balls tightening up.
"Fred," he groaned as he continued to push up into her. "Gonna..."
Before he could say the words, Nick felt his body tense and then explode as he came hard inside of her.