Fandom: The Old Guard (Movie 2020)
Summary: Nicky can't help assisting people in need, but this time he's being played and those duping him come with fangs. When he goes missing the whole team are frantic, particularly when they start having strange dreams, especially Joe. They have to find Nicky before it is too late.
Warnings/Tropes: Vampires, Immortal!Husbands, Nicky Whump
A/N: Yes, of course I wrote vampires into TOG – it is my mission in life to write vampires in every fandom. 😂 You're welcome 🧛😂.
Seriously though – I hope everyone enjoys reading this one, I have so enjoyed writing it. Thanks to Soph for the beta.
Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Chapter 13 – Resting
Normally after any kind of confrontation they would have left their current residence almost immediately and gone somewhere else safe, but not this time. Nicky's encounter with the local authorities had been brief and written off as just another junkie nearly dying and running away, and all incriminating traces of it had been wiped away by Copely. Their conflict with the vampires would never be anyone's secret but theirs and their two rescues. Copley had reported back that the brother and sister had passed on the hastily created cover story perfectly, so that wasn't an issue.
Hence, the team was in no hurry to leave Edinburgh.
Joe was all too aware Nicky was not at ease with all the changes the last few days had wrought on him. To Joe they made the love of his life even more amazing and marvellous. It broke his heart to see Nicky so full of trepidation when something turned out to be slightly different. So much so that he couldn't help sharing in his husband's delight when finding out something was exactly the same.
Currently Nicky was sitting in the brightest patch of sunlight in the living room, dozing. The only compromise to the bright light being Joe's sunglasses. He disliked not being able to see his husband's beautiful eyes, but it was better than seeing him in discomfort. He had already quietly spoken to Copely about an alternative, but he would surprise Nicky with the specialist made contact lenses when they came through. Nicky preferred nothing between him and his scope when he was working and while Joe was sure Nicky would cope without any aids whenever necessary, he enjoyed making his love's life easier.
Joe had already sketched Nicky as he was, sleeping in the sun, several times in fact. He loved to commit to paper every different way he saw the man he loved. Now he was sketching from memory. He had not exaggerated when he had told Nicky how he had looked in the fight, or how it made him feel. So far, he had drawn two different moments that were etched on his thoughts from the battle and one of Nicky as he had been as they made love, although only his face for the last one.
To Joe, Nicky was always beautiful, whether smiling across the room, entwined in his arms, or covered in blood and gore from conflict. He loved every aspect of this amazing man and he would keep these moments forever.
He heard the quiet exclamation from behind him. Booker only ever resorted to such phrases when he was truly enrapt, and Joe was not surprised to see the other man staring at his sketches.
The fact was, Joe was not sure how to feel about Booker still being with them. He had yet to find complete forgiveness in his heart, but Booker had helped in the search for and care of Nicky, and in their mission to destroy the den of vampires. He'd been utterly vital for some parts, like he always had been. They had not said much to each other except to discuss things directly related to that. He was pretty sure Booker had been keeping out of his way most of the rest of the time.
Given the way Nicky had been acting around all of them, he doubted suggesting Booker be exiled again would go down well. He knew his other half very well and he could see the signs. He just hadn't come round to the idea yet himself. After all, Booker's actions had directly led to torture and Nicky getting the back of his skull blown off.
"Magnificent, yes?" he said quietly, because an opening was an opening.
"I didn't see," Booker said equally as quietly.
"So many times I have wondered if I have seen my Nicolo at his best and then the universe chooses to make my heart beat with even greater abandon," Joe said.
"You are a lucky man," Booker whispered.
"Indeed," Joe agreed and went back to the sketch he was working on.
He was so engrossed that he didn't realise Booker was still there for a while.
"Joe," Booker said.
He looked up to find the younger immortal nervously playing with his nails.
"Yes?" Joe asked.
"Does … well … does Nicky need blood?" Booker asked.
For a moment Joe wanted to be defensive on Nicky's behalf, but he quickly realised that was a response not to the apparently earnest question, but to the whole situation.
"We believe so," he said, keeping his voice steady, but with a definite undertone of be careful. "Although we have yet to understand all aspects of his change."
Booker nodded as if that was the answer he had been expecting. He turned away, but then paused.
"If," Booker said, "if he needs more than you can give, just ask."
That definitely was not what Joe had been anticipating. Something that had been tied in a knot around his heart ever since Booker's betrayal loosened. He nodded and Booker walked quietly away. Joe watched the other man go, until Nicky made a small snuffling sound and dragged Joe's eyes back to the man he loved.
So much had changed yet again in such a short time. The physical differences in Nicky were profound, and yet to Joe they seemed to have made no change at all to the underlying man. The caring, kind human being was the same as ever. Those changes in turn via Nicky's blood, seemed to have returned Andy's immortality. They were going to have to stage an intervention if Andy insisted on relishing cutting herself every so often to check, but none of them were brave enough for that conversation yet. Personally, Joe thought Andy was messing with Nile, but he wasn't one hundred percent sure.
His main focus was Nicky at the moment, but he could tell they were all on the lookout for Andy as well, just in case. Losing her immortality and then getting it back all within a few months could not have been easy for her. When she needed them, they would be there.
The last few days had been terrible, but maybe, just maybe, the outcome would give that terror meaning.
Joe, Booker and Nile were watching a football match on the television in the living room. Nile and Joe were literally shouting at the game, while Booker was trying not to and muttering things under his breath. Nicky found it adorable how Joe had managed to infect Nile with his fanatical love of the game.
He wasn't overly invested in the football, but he had been enjoying watching the others enjoy it while Andy pretended not to be paying attention, although significantly had failed to leave the room. Seeing everyone together simply relaxing made him feel warm inside.
The fact that he was concentrating on everyone else rather than the game, however, did mean that he noticed everyone was running out of beer. Joe gave him a look when he stood up, but he patted his husband on the shoulder and waved his bottle in the general direction of everyone's mostly empties.
"Back in a minute," he said and headed for the kitchen.
He smiled to himself as he pulled four bottles out of the fridge before turning and looking at where Andy had followed him.
"Need ice?" he asked.
She shook her head, sipping her glass of vodka.
"You're looking steadier," she said.
"Things are still strange," he admitted, "but I am getting used to it. I just do not fully understand everything that has happened yet."
Andy barked a laugh.
"You and me both," she said.
"And you," Nicky asked, "how are you? It cannot have been easy."
Finding yourself mortal after thousands of years and then suddenly having that turned on its head must have caused mental whiplash at the least.
"I'm fine," Andy said, but didn't look at him.
"Are you really?" he asked.
She glanced at him then and smiled a sardonic little smile.
"Yeah," she said and surprised him, "I think I am. I thought I had accepted being mortal, but then I'm not and I realised I never really did. Realised a few other things too," she added and took a sip of her drink.
Nicky leaned against the counter, placing the bottles down. This was not where he had expected the conversation to go.
"How so?" he asked.
"Before this," Andy told him, "I might have despised Merrick for looking for the cure for all ills, but I thought he might have been on the right track, that it was something to find by investigating us with the wonders of modern science. I was sure we were logical, even if how we survive defies what most people think of as natural laws. Now, I'm not so sure."
From Andy that was huge. She was thousands of years old, had been worshiped as divine, and was the most practical of all of them.
"Why?" Nicky asked.
"Do you remember what happened when our blood mixed?" Andy asked.
"Not really," he admitted. "I remember being aware of you, like the dreams I think, only very immediate, but it's muddled. I don't really remember much after the cross …"
He waved at his chest, unsure how to quite describe whatever it was the cross had done.
"Understandable," Andy said. "Well I do remember, it's crystal clear. I might have lost track of what was going on around me, but what was happening inside, that was so real."
"What did you feel?" he asked.
"You," she said, "with all your passion for life, for humanity, for Joe. It wasn't your blood that healed me and rekindled this thing we are, that just created the way for there to be a direct connection, it was you."
Nicky didn't know how to respond.
"But I didn't do anything," he said eventually.
"You didn't have to," Andy said, "you just had to be you."
He didn't really get it.
"This gift we've been given," Andy said, "it's powered by us, by our spirit. It stops when that spirit fails."
She sounded like she had been thinking about this very carefully, however, there was one hole in that argument.
"What about Booker?" he asked. "He said he wanted this to stop, but he still heals."
The twisted little smile came back to Andy's lips at that.
"I don't think Book really knows what he wants," she said. "He must have been in a very dark place. I've been there too, several times over the centuries, but nothing like earlier this year. I saw Nile, saw her slot into the group, and something in me gave up. I couldn't even see it until you slammed into my head."
"I…" Nicky went to say something, but nothing seemed quite adequate.
"Thank you," Andy said before he could figure out anything.
She reached out and placed her hand on his arm for a moment, before going to leave.
"Andy," he said, before she could walk through the doorway and she turned back, "I've been thinking too. Joe thought maybe, in the scheme of things, we might be the good and the vampires might be the bad, but I don't think it's that simple."
Andy lifted a questioning eyebrow.
"Vampires are dark things, I know that much, they are undead, but when Ruth died for real, it was like a shadow had been lifted from my soul," he told her. "She was psychotic, and she passed that on to every vampire she made. Her hold on me was broken by this," he touched his chest, "but I still felt it when she ended. Then there's us, we're fundamentally human and I don't think immortality makes any of us more likely to be good or bad. That's all on you."
"Don't be silly…"
"Andy," Nicky said before she could protest, "you were the first. When we died you were in all our heads, you are the example we all follow."
"I'm not good," Andy said.
Nicky couldn't help the slight smile when he realised she had chosen almost the exact same words he had.
"As Joe so wisely pointed out when I said the same thing, no you're human," he told her, "but you have always been a leader, always looked for where you can make a difference. That may have changed over the millennia, but you've always been you."
"That has not always been nice," Andy insisted.
"Do I need to get Copely on the phone?" Nicky asked. "I'm sure he would love to give another grand speech on his wall of historical events. He probably has a presentation."
This time her lips twitched with genuine amusement and she rolled her eyes.
"Fuck this," she said, "I've had enough philosophising for one day."
Typically blunt, typically Andy. She might not believe him, but he knew what his heart told him.
"Hug?" Nicky offered, opening his arms.
Andy grinned and moved forward, wrapping her arms around him as he did the same to her. If was warm and comforting and Nicky felt calm and at peace.
"God, you give the best hugs," Andy commented.
"No," he countered, "Joe gives the best hugs."
Andy snorted a laugh at that as if she had expected his comeback.
"Joe gives the most enthusiastic hugs," Andy said, "not always the best."
"Oops, sorry," made them both look up a few moments later.
Nile was standing in the kitchen doorway.
"Just looking for more chips," she said.
"Want in?" Nicky said and lifted one arm.
"Fuck yeah," Nile said and dived in with an enthusiasm that caught him off guard, "you give the best hugs."
"Told you," Andy muttered.
On to Epilogue