At around 5:00, Kennedy's phone rings with Nick's ringtone. It's been an hour since he ducked out for coffee, and not a peep since. Until now, of course. Buzz buzz!
And about two rings in, Kennedy lifts her phone, "Hello?" There is paper shuffling in the background, still at work, probably.
"Baby?" comes Nick's voice. He sounds very...tired. "I'm...can you come get me? I'm in the basement." He also just doesn't sound too good in general.
"Nick?" Kennedy stands up straight, her rustling halting. "Basement... What..." But his voice settles in and she says, "I'll be right there." Hanging up, Kennedy goes to his office first, to grab his emergency bottle of scotch before she notes to Emily to finish up. And then she heads to the elevator to go downstairs.
Nicholas, it turns out, is not actually in the basement, but just outside the door in the stairwell. From his position, it looks like he tried to get up the stairs, couldn't manage, fell against the wall, and slid down. And it's no wonder he couldn't manage: his leg is bleeding heavily, the fabric around it soaked with blood and torn and the leg beneath mangled beyond recognition. His shirt is also dense with blood on his left side, all of it concentrated in a dark, spreading stain. As for him? He's pale, and by the time she gets down there, unconscious, phone sitting limply in his hand on the ground.
"Nick!" Kennedy cries out when she sees him, and she rushes over to his side, setting down the bottle as she pulls off her jacket. "Baby? Can you hear me?" Her fingers check for a pulse first, before she wraps her jacket around that bleeding leg. Noting the stain on his side, she pulls off her shirt as well, to peel back his clothes to press her shirt to his side. She seems near to tears, near enough that they must be being held back by sheer force of willpower.
Nicholas's pulse is weak but steady, and he's clearly not doing very good. Under all the blood on his side, she can see a healed battlescar, long and down his side, slightly concave at it appears a bit of his flesh was removed with it. Beside it are fresher wounds, bite marks from way too many teeth that bleed freely. The back of his shirt is in tatters. He's not responding to her words at the moment.
"Oh god, Nick..." She pulls out her phone, bloody hands and all, to make a call. "James? James... get to the basement right now. Yes, /right now/!" She doesn't explain more, she just hangs up and goes back to trying to stop the bleeding. "It's okay, baby. I'm here. It's going to be alright. I promise." It's probably good she called for help, given that she's starting to get emotional. Luckily, it isn't too long a wait before James shows up to help. Under Kennedy's somewhat frantic direction, the pair are able to get Nick into the elevator and up to the living quarters and even into their bed. "Thanks James," Kennedy says, but the other kin doesn't exactly leave. He runs support, fetching first aid and such things as Kennedy checks Nick over.
Nicholas is heavy--he's unconscious, after all!--but between the two of them, they manage to get him exactly where they need him to go. Stripped down, his injuries are more apparent, huge chunks ripped from his leg. It's only a miracle he didn't get worse in his side, it seems. He's bleeding copiously, a faint sheen of sweat on his skin as his body recognizes how much he's losing and goes into overdrive to keep his body warm through fever. Thankfully, between the two of them, they get him wrapped up and dealt with, disinfected despite the traces of thicker, viscous fluid that slips through his blood--the deactivated poison, it seems. And then, it's a waiting game, for how long it will take him to wake up.
When the work is done, Kennedy tells James she'll let him know if there's a change, and she pulls over a chair to sit next to the bed. To stare. And tap her foot nervously. She doesn't read a book or hum or even pace, as if looking away from him might be fatal. "Nick... you're not allowed to be dying. You know that, don't you? You have a family you have to come home to. Have to. No exceptions." She reaches over to rest her hand over his, "So you come back to me, you understand?"
Kennedy is left to fret for hours, pleas be damned. There's no change in the Walker for most of that time, beyond maybe a slightly deeper breath here, or a flicker of eyes behind their lids there. But by the time midnight rolls around, he stirs a bit, eyes opening hazily. "Kenn...?" he asks softly, sounding still a little dazed.
Hours give her enough time to run a gamut of emotions. she pleads, she yells, she cries, she kisses him a few times, but by the time midnight hits, she's still sitting in the chair, her head resting on the bed next to him, her hand still over his. So, when he stirs, she bolts upright and looks down at him. "Nick," she says with relief, her other hand joining the first around his hand, "Oh god, Nick..." Whups, there's the crying again, but she shifts over to a more stern voice, "Shift up. Damnit, Nick, shift up."
And Nicholas is deaf to all of it. But, when she sits bolt upright, he looks over at her, a weak, crooked smile on his lips. "'m not dead, it's okay. I'll just...yeah. Okay." His words slur a little bit with pain and weakness, but he closes his eyes to concentrate. It takes quite a bit of effort, reaching through that haze to tap the beast in the nose and make it rustle enough to shift him up, but he manages, barely. Once he hits Glabro, he collapses back into the pillow with a bit of a pitiful groan, a bit paler for the effort. And his bandages have split. Still, he clings to her hands with what tactile strength he's got. "Sorry," he murmurs. "For worrying you."
"You better /not/ be," Kennedy says, sniffling a little. She doesn't let go of him, even when he shifts up. "Oh, baby. Baby. Don't say sorry. You just focus on getting better." She reaches for the first aid, her hands moving to start redoing his bandages. They needed to be changed anyway, all that blood. "And I'll be here with you, okay? So if you need anything, you just let me know."
Nicholas grits his teeth when his bandages are changed, getting a little dizzy from the pain, and he even briefly passes out again from it. But he rouses again when she's done, sighing a bit and reaching for her to hold her hand again. "Veil breach," he murmurs. "Three fomori. Sid, Cait, Louise and me. Sid rage-healed. So'd I." He lets that sink in for a moment, before adding worriedly, "Louise didn't run. Or hide. Or scream. Just fine. Remembered even. Rommy's got 'er."
Kennedy starts to cry again as he passes out, and she doesn't seem to have stopped by the time he comes around again. His words lift her eyebrows, and she groans a little bit. "Louise, the reporter? Well, /hell/." But, when he goes on, she lifts a finger to press to his lips. "Then it's Rommy's problem to worry about for now. You just worry about healing up. Rommy'll take care of it."
Nicholas tries to delicately wipe away her tears, but there is no delicate in this state. His hand fumbles against her cheek before resting heavily on her shoulder instead. "Came back for you, Kenn," he murmurs, smiling slightly. "Like I promised. Can't kill Nicholas Grey--" He cuts off for a moment, wincing at some twinge of pain, before finishing, "...so easily." He reaches for her hand again and holds it, looking up at her. At least he seems a little more alert than he was.
Even if it isn't delicate, Kennedy seems touched as he brushes her face and her hand comes to cover his when it rests on her shoulder. "Thank you, Nick. I always want you to come home to me. Never leave me, okay?" She grips his hand while her other comes up to touch his face "Too stubborn," she says with a gentle smile. "I love you, Nick."
Nicholas chuckles softly, eyes closing at her touch. "Never ever," he promises softly. "I love you too, Kenn. You're not allowed to leave me either." He holds her hand, nuzzling a little into her fingers before turning slowly to press his lips to her hand. "I kind of wish we had morphine," he mumbles, his other hand coming to hold her hand against his face. Yay physical contact!
"I'll never leave you, Nick." Kennedy leans over him to press a kiss to his lips, trying to be careful of his wounds as she does so. "Even if we did, it would just push right out of your system. But it'll be okay. I'm here. When it hurts, you just squeeze my hand. I'm right here for you, my love."
Nicholas kisses back, nuzzling his scruffy jaw against her for a moment before laying back into the pillow with a soft groan. "I know. Awakened morphine would be nice though. And I can't do that, it hurts constantly." Indeed, by the continued slight slurring of his words, he may be having a hard time keeping it together. "Plus I'd crush your hand 'r something. An' then where'd I be?" He smiles softly up at her, and sighs. "Love you."
"Yes you can. And I'll just tell you in you're in danger of breaking me. But I'll be okay." Kennedy smiles back at him, just barely, her thumb brushing his cheek. "If you need to cry or yell or pass out, that's okay, too. I'll sit right here with you no matter what. I love you, too, Nick. You're everything to me..."
Nicholas squeezes her hand weakly, then offers a somewhat dejected chuckle. "Well...you're in no danger of getting broken, anyways," he comments softly. He breathes deeply, nodding against the pillow. "I dunno how long I can keep awake," he murmurs apologetically. "You'll sleep too though, right? You need to sleep too. Don'...don't break yourself." Another soft squeeze. "I can't take care of you right now. You gotta do it for me. Okay? Because you're everything to me too."
"I'll take care of myself, baby. I promise. I'll be right as rain when you get better. You sleep if you need to. I'll stay close." As if to prove that she's telling the truth, she climbs into bed next to him, laying next to him, but not up against him just yet. "We'll both be okay. Right?"
Nicholas looks over at her as she lays down, still reaching to take her hand and looking somewhat regretful that he can't hold her. "Okay. Okay, good. I love you." He gives her hand another weak squeeze, shivering a little and then wincing. It takes him a few before he can answer, and he lets out a breath. "...Yeah. We'll be okay," he murmurs. "Not going anywhere."
"Shhhh, baby..." Kennedy brushes his face, her touch gentle. "You don't have to talk. I can talk to you, though, if you'd like. You want... a story? Or I could read you the minutes from the last board meeting, that'll knock you /right/ out."
"Talk to me, Kenn," Nicholas whispers, eyes sliding closed against the inexorable wave of exhaustion. "Don't care what, I just...want to hear you." He keeps his grip on her hand, breathing slow and settled.
"Okay. I can do that," Kennedy doesn't stop petting his cheek, her voice turning softer, though. There's a pause before she starts up again, a crooked smile on her face, "Once upon a time, there was a girl. And this girl had a /huge/ crush on this boy. For a long time, she admired him, but she thought that was it. Just a crush on the handsome, kind boy. But then one day... she couldn't deny that she loved him more than she'd let herself before. And you know why?" She chuckles lightly, shaking her head, "Because he played a trick on her that went /all/ wrong, I mean... /so/ wrong. She even ended up hurt before the end! But," she says, leaning in to press her lips to is forehead briefly, "He spend the whole day taking care of her after. And she never forgot it."
Nicholas listens quietly, slight smile on his lips as she begins. As she goes on, his grin widens a bit and he cracks one eye open at her. "Oh /god/," he chuckles softly. "Not that day? Really?" He eyes her in quiet, amused disbelief, shaking his head a little. "Felt /so/ bad that day." He holds her hand a little tighter, thumb rubbing against her hand. "You loved me more?"
Kennedy chuckles and nods her head, "That day. That day I knew there wasn't going to be anyone else." She smiles lovingly at him, and nods her head. "I loved you more. And more everyday since. I didn't think you would love me, too, but I couldn't stop. You... are just amazing, Nick. And that day, that day just shoved it all in my face and wouldn't let me deny it anymore."
Nicholas chuckles softly. "All the way back then. Poor girl." He makes as if to scoot closer to her then hisses in pain as he's reminded why he hadn't yet. "Fucking...demon...dog things," he breathes irritably. He falls quiet again, eyes closing after a few moments, but it doesn't take long for him to speak up again. "You're very strange, that day being the clincher. Must be my girl, hnh?" There's that smile again.
"/Aaaaall/ the way back then. And tormenting myself with you practically everyday. I just... couldn't walk away." Kennedy sits up sharply at his hiss, on high alert, it seems. But she scoots closer to him, taking care around his wounds. "Don't move, you crazy fool." She lays her head against the pillows, kissing what non-injured bits of him she can reach. "Oh believe me, I know. And yes, your girl. Always your girl. But think about it... that day... it was you. And it was me. Without... too much between. You know?"
Nicholas tries vaguely to reassure her after she bolts upright, hand patting hers a bit clumsily. "Hard not to move," he sighs. Still, he turns his head towards her kisses, trying to catch a few on his lips and offering a few back on her cheeks as he can. As she follows up, he looks up at her, then chuckles softly. "Think it's the pain talking, but I don't. Explain more? Please?" Poor guy looks pitiful.
"What I mean is... I think I saw more of you that day than I ever had before. You took care of me, you held me, you let me punch you..." Kennedy gives him a crooked smile, her fingers rushing through his hair. "And you were so cute about it, running to get me ice and coffee and all that. I just... loved you. I love you."
Nicholas smiles a little and shrugs. (Then winces.) "Couldn't do anything less," he says doubtfully. "I...cared about you. As a friend. Rare soul to see me and like me even with my strangeness. Loyal too. Also found out how hard you hit, which is very hard. By the way." He casts a grin over at her, reaching to pet whatever he can reach: arm, side, stomach... "So...lemme get this straight. Day you realized you loved me--same day you punched the crap out of my eye?"
"Exactly. You couldn't. Because you're you." Kennedy turns a bit so it's easier for him to reach her, and she can't seem to stop her smile. "Your strangeness is very intriguing. Still, after five years of it, I just can't get enough." Those last words get a bit of a trip over her words, then she has to think over her answer. "Well... I realized it before the punch, if that makes it better..."
Nicholas grins a little as she turns towards him, looking over at her, and he grins a little wider still for the rest. Especially the end. "So you realized you loved me.../then/ punched me?" he teases, petting her side. "Don't blame you, really. I'da done the same. 'Crap, stuck with this weirdo?' Right to the face." His words are starting to slur together a little more, as it takes more effort to fight the exhaustion, but he doesn't seem to want to sleep, or even stop talking with her.
"When you put it like that, it sounds awful," Kennedy says with a chuckle, but when he goes on, she lets out a huff. "That wasn't how it went and you know it! I was in pain, I was in shock, and then /someone/ goaded me!"
"Goading," Nicholas scoffs softly. Still, he can't help it, he smiles warmly over at her. "Okay. I goaded. Admittedly." His hand leaves her side to touch her face softly. "Hit hard, though. Man. And on the eye? I was so proud." Finally unable to fight it anymore, his eyes drift shut. "Love you, Kenn'dy," he murmurs.
"You were proud?" Kennedy smiles at that, and nuzzles gently into his hand on her face. "I love you, Nick. I'll be here when you wake up." She settles down next to him, pulling a blanket over them both as she gets comfortable. "Good night, my love." She gives him a gentle kiss to the cheek, and leans back to watch him before she slips off to sleep herself.
"Mmm. I like strong ladies," Nicholas murmurs. He lets his hand drop to take hers instead, giving it a sleepy, gentle squeeze. "Love you too. 'm not sleeping. Just resting my eyes." Even still, by the time she's pulled that blanket up and said her goodnight, he's already slipped off, deep in the sea of trauma-induced exhaustion.