Title: Not Alone
Category: Real Person Slash
Series: Darkness and Light
Pairing(s): Nick/Tressa at first, Nick/James later. Implied Viggo/Orlando/Johnny.
Feedback: I crave it like a British whore. Wufei05@cs.com
Disclaimer: They own themselves, this NEVER happened! Don't sue, I'm not implying anything about the actors mentioned in this!
Summary: Nick goes into a depression after his wife leaves him. Turning to James for support, the two of them find themselves in a situation they never thought they'd be in. First in the Darkness and Light series.
He wasn't sure when things started to slide. One minute he was a happily married man with a high-paying job and a loving wife, the next minute he was desperately searching for work and divorced. Tressa had told him that she still loved him, that she would always love him, but in a sisterly way.
That was three weeks after Buffy had ended and Nick found himself out of a job.
His friends all had their own projects lined up. Alyson was still doing things with the cast of American Wedding, Tony had Ripper, Sarah was filming the second Scooby Doo, and James had his band, Angel, and Venetian Heat. Even his brother was working on a new show.
With a sigh, Nick leaned back against the bar, his dark brown eyes surveying the club. Loud rock music made it nearly impossible to hear anything. James' band was playing, and he had brought the cast of Venetian Heat, who had in turn brought their own friends.
Because of this, Nick was not at all surprised to find himself seated at the bar next to Johnny Depp.
Nick looked up sharply. "Good guess." He drained his beer and signalled the bartender for another. "What brings you here?"
"Mutual friend," Depp replied. "Orlando Bloom, friend of Sean Bean, who's in Heat."
Nick nodded. He had met both of them before with James. Glancing up at the stage, he found James' bright blue eyes staring at him. The rhythm guitarist gave him a little grin before launching into "Mad Brilliant."
"Cocky bastard," Depp commented.
"Who? Orlando?" Nick shot the older man a quizzical look.
Depp took a swig of his beer. "No, well, yeah, Orli is too, but I think ol' Viggo's taking care of that." He grinned, dark eyes twinkling with amusement. "I was talking about your bleached buddy up there. Marsters."
"You've met him?"
"No, but I've seen him on Buffy. Also saw you on that. You guys had a good run."
"Yeah. I guess we did."
Silence, except for Ghost of the Robot playing onstage, then Depp chuckled. "Looks like Viggo's got his hands full. Hang on." He stood, swaying a little on his feet, and gave a sharp whistle. Soon, a tall, longhaired man with dark grey eyes approached the bar.
"There you are. I thought you said you were going to help me keep an eye on Orli," the man said, glaring at Depp.
Depp shrugged. "Got sidetracked. Besides, you know you're the only one Orli listens to anyway." He grinned then took another mouthful of his drink.
The man rolled his eyes. "I'm taking him home soon, anyway. Tomorrow he's dragging me mountain climbing with the Hobbits."
Depp sniggered. "Better you than me." He paused and waved a hand toward Nick. "Oh, yeah. Vig, this is Nick Brendon; Nicky, this is Viggo Mortensen." Nick nodded politely and shook the other man's hand.
"You're in Heat?" Mortensen asked.
"No," Nick shook his head. "My friend James is."
"Marsters," Depp filled in. "Y'know, Adriano." He grinned and Mortensen smirked.
"Didn't know that I was the leading man, did you Mortensen?" A deep voice drawled from behind them.
Realising that he could no longer hear Ghost playing, Nick turned to face James. "I thought you guys were still playing."
The younger man shrugged. "Charlie got bored and Steve wanted alcohol." He turned to Depp and Mortensen. "You're not tryin' to add Nicky here to your nest, are you?"
Mortensen rolled his eyes and Depp sniggered. "Don't worry, Marsters; an' if anything, we're Orli's nest," the less sober of the two replied.
After talking with the other actors for a while longer, - alright, not so much talking as listening and nodding his head - Nick felt it was time to leave.
Shaking Depp and Mortensen's hands and telling James that he would call him later, the dark-eyed man left the club and heard for his car.
As he unlocked the car, he felt a strong hand grip his shoulder. Whirling around, Nick found himself staring into the nearly black eyes of Johnny Deep. Relaxing, the younger man stepped back.
"Sorry," Nick apologised. "Guess I'm a little high-strung."
Depp nodded, no longer swaying on his feet. "Just wanted to tell you, don't keep living in the past, Brendon. There's someone out there who loves you." He hesitated, then grinned. "An' I'm talking about 'scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need.'"
Nick smiled, hearing the words which he had spoken as Xander a few years before. Reaching out, he gripped Depp's hand. "Thanks Johnny."
"Frito for your thoughts."
Nick blinked and shook his head, clearing his thoughts. His mind kept returning to his short conversation with Johnny at the club two weeks ago.
James rolled his eyes and waved the bag of Frito's under his friend's nose. "Frito for your thoughts," the Californian repeated.
"Oh, yeah." Nick grabbed a handful of the chips. "Just thinking about something Johnny said to me at the club."
James tilted his head slightly. "What did he say?"
"Nothing big; just a quote from Buffy." It was true, just not the whole truth. For some reason Nick was reluctant to tell the younger man exactly which quote it was.
Fortunately, James wasn't in a prying mood. The bleached blonde leaned back in his chair and turned his attention to the ocean.
The porch was silent except for the sound of the chip bag being passed back and forth. The warm Californian breeze ruffled Nick's long hair, blowing it into his eyes.
"Why don't you get a haircut?" James asked, raising his scarred eyebrow. "Or at least pull it back."
Nick shrugged, self-consciously running a hand through his hair. "I guess I'm just used to it now. Besides," he added with a grin. "At least this way I never get mistaken for Billy Idol."
James chuckled. "Bite me, Brendon."
The younger man rolled his eyes. "Oh! That reminds me-"
"My hair reminded you of something?"
"Shut up. I just remembered that I'm going to dinner tonight with some of the Angel cast. You want to come?"
Nick shook his head. "No thanks. I'm, uh, busy tonight."
James glared. "Busy?" He snorted. "Let me guess, something interesting on A&E tonight?" the blonde asked sardonically.
"No, Nick," James interrupted. His voice was harsh, but his concern showed in his sky blue eyes. "You need to stop shutting yourself out. I know you're still upset about Tressa, but you have to move on."
Nick sighed and looked away, unwilling to admit that his friend was right. He jumped as he felt a warm hand on his thigh. Glancing up, his dark eyes met soft blue ones.
"Please?" James pleaded. "You'll have fun, I promise."
"Fine, I'll go," Nick grumbled. James grinned and grabbed a handful of Fritos, looking quite pleased with himself.
"You do realize that those damn eyes of yours will be the death of me one of these days."
James laughed. "I get that a lot."
When Nick and James arrived at the restaurant, only Charisma, David, and Alexis were waiting for them.
"Looks like it's only going to be a Buffy reunion," David said with a grin. "J, Amy, and Andy couldn't make it."
"No problem, Peaches," James drawled, slipping into his Spike persona. "Hope you lot don't mind that I brought me mate Xander along with me."
Nick rolled his eyes and pushed James down into a seat. "Sit, Short One," he mock-growled. Taking a seat between James and Charisma, he picked up his menu. "Where's Aly tonight?"
"Out with the American Pie cast, I think," Alexis replied. "She actually went over to your place this afternoon, but I guess you weren't home."
"Nope," Nick said. "I was over with James."
The waitress came over to their table and took their orders. After she had returned with their drinks, Nick started to feel a little more relaxed. This isn't so bad, he thought. James was right for once.
"So, Nicky, what's new?" Charisma asked, taking a sip of her wine. "Meet any nice women that you want to tell us about?"
Nick stiffened, his former relaxed attitude gone. He knew Charisma had no way of knowing that he still wasn't over Tressa yet, but it still hit him hard.
"He hasn't," James said smoothly, gripping Nick's thigh under the table and squeezing. "I'd be the first to know, aside from Kelly, anyway."
Nick nodded and downed his wine. "Yeah; Kelly probably would know even before me," he said quickly. With that, he excused himself and walked into the men's room.
Immediately heading for the sink, he splashed water onto his face, shivering as icy droplets ran down his neck. Reaching out blindly for a paper towel, Nick jumped as his hand connected with warm skin.
"I guess I should learn to say something when I walk in, huh?" came the amused baritone.
Nick relaxed. Accepting the towel which the smaller man held out, he dried himself off. "Sorry I ruined dinner," he said quietly.
James leaned against the tiled wall. "You didn't ruin it, Nicky. I told them we'd take a rain check and that you weren't feeling your best." The peroxide blonde dug his keys out of his pocket and tugged Nick's sleeve, leading him toward the door.
"Where are we going?" Nick asked hesitantly.
"Somewhere where you won't be constantly reminded of Tressa."
Nick awoke the next morning feeling better than he had in weeks. Yawning, he opened his eyes and looked around the room, taking stock of his unfamiliar surroundings.
The room was plain-dark blues and greens making up most of the colour. A nightstand with a dark blue lamp and a battered copy of Macbeth sat to his right. An acoustic guitar leaned against the nightstand with a notebook and pen lying on the floor next to it. Next to the closet was a small dresser with a mirror and jewellery piled on top of it. Beside the television was a dark green easy chair with a familiar figure curled up on it.
Deciding that the chair might not be all that comfortable and that there was enough room in the bed for both of them, Nick got up and scooped James into his arms, laying him down carefully on the bed.
Nick yawned again and lay back down on the other side, burying his face in the pillow. Closing his eyes, the dark-eyed man allowed himself to rest.
Four hours later, Nick awoke to the feeling of a warm body pressed against his and the strange, yet familiar scent of leather and sandalwood. He opened his eyes and instantly noticed a small bleached figure curled up against his side. Sometime in the night they must've moved; they started out on opposite sides of the bed and now both men were curled up together in the middle.
Just as Nick started to move out from under James, the younger man stretched against him and yawned. Sleepy blue eyes opened and met wide brown ones.
For several long moments, neither man spoke nor made any attempt to move.
James was the first to look away. He ran a hand through his bleached hair and coughed. "I should, uh... I should probably shower..." he mumbled, getting up.
Nick didn't hear him. As soon as James had opened his eyes, Johnny's words had crashed back into his mind.
Reaching out, Nick grabbed James' pale wrist, preventing the shorter man from leaving. Slowly, James lay back down, his blue eyes wide with confusion.
Nick was acutely aware of James' slender body against his own, the leg that had slipped between his thighs, and the warm breath that ghosted across his neck. Taking a deep breath and praying that he wasn't making a big mistake, Nick leaned up and brushed his lips against James'.
There was no reaction from the blonde. Pulling away, Nick was about to apologise when he felt James' hands in his long hair and warm lips covering his own.
Groaning softly, Nick pulled the smaller male closer, deepening the kiss. One hand was tangled in James' short hair, the other gripped is waist, keeping their bodies flush against each other.
"Nicky..." James panted as he pulled away. Nick shuddered at the sound of his name being gasped out. He brushed his lips across James' neck, trailing tiny kisses down his throat.
"Nicky," James tried again. "Nick, hold on." He held the older man back with some difficulty.
Nick stared at him in confusion. He knew James wanted him; he could feel it. "Sorry, I'm listening."
James nodded. "I just wanted to make sure that you know who you're with." At Nick's confused look, he continued. "I'm all for this, you know that. I just want to know that it's me that you're seeing, not Tressa. If I'm just going to be a replacement for her, then let's stop now while we can."
Nick blinked in surprise. The thought of Tressa hadn't even crossed his mind. He looked back at James, whose blue eyes were fixated on his. With a low growl, he launched himself at the peroxide blonde, pinning the younger man down.
"I told you those damn eyes of yours would be the death of me!"
For the first time in months, Nick felt content. James' slender form was wrapped around his and a warm hand tangled itself in his long hair. Nick sighed and closed his eyes, brushing his lips against the sweaty skin of his new lover's neck.
"How'd you figure it out?" James asked softly.
"A drunken pirate gave me a hint," Nick replied, not moving. "That, and I had suspected you were a little bent for a while."
James chuckled. "You hide yourself well. Caught me off guard." The younger man paused, his free hand beginning to make small patterns on Nick's back. "I wonder how Johnny knew," he mused.
"You said you had met Orlando and Viggo before."
"Yeah, but those three seem close. Very close." He lifted his head to look at his lover. "They would probably be able to figure it out pretty easily."
"Good point." James grinned and raised his scarred eyebrow. "Guess I'll have to thank Johnny then, huh?" The hand on Nick's back moved lower.
Nick bit back a moan as James' mouth latched onto his throat. "Yeah, you will. Later though. Kelly's bound to find out about us sooner or later, so I want as much of you as I can get before that happens."
The only response he got from his lover was a bruising kiss.
Two days later, Angel's hiatus was over and James had to go back on set. Nick had returned home that morning only to find thirty-two messages on his answering machine. Over half of them were from his brother, and two were from Charlie, who had been looking for James.
He returned Kelly's calls, reassuring his twin that, no, he was not dead, abducted by aliens, and/or passed out on the couch.
Kelly was silent for a moment. Then, "you met someone, didn't you." It wasn't a question; Kelly never questioned anything, he always knew.
"No, I didn't." It was true; he hadn't actually met anybody.
"Then you're with someone you known before."
Damn. Nothing got past Kelly. Nick tucked a lock of hair behind his ear. "That's unnatural, you know that?"
"Heh. I just know you better than you know yourself," Kelly said. "So, who is she?"
At least he doesn't know that "she" is a "he," Nick thought. "You'll know soon enough, Kelly," he said casually. He glanced quickly at the clock. "I've gotta run. I'll talk to you later."
Nick cut the connection. Leaning back in his chair, he stared at the phone in his hand. He had one more call to return, but he had saved it for last. He remembered James' words from four days ago and turned the phone back on. The peroxide abuser was right. He dialled the number that had been left on the message and waited.
Nick took a breath. It was time to move on.
"Hey, Tressa. It's Nicky..."
Author's Note: Will be continued in the rest of the Darkness and Light series.