A Not So Relaxing Night

Nick Gautier is one of the lead characters in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series. I do not own Nick in any way whatsoever. I merely borrow him from Sherri to role play with.

That being said, Nick and I have a strange way of working together. He’s very much his own person even though I am his writer. You’ll see…

On the large television screen across the room a man with a rifle strapped across his back faced off with a line of men on horseback. Chain mail jingled and clanged as the horses shifted nervously. The man, missing his right hand, seemed utterly at a loss. Rightfully so given that he’d just been ripped from the 20th century and shoved in the midst of 12th century Britain.

“What are you doing, Renee?”

“Watching Army of Darkness. What does it look like I’m doing?” She frowned at the man sitting beside her.

Nick reached over and flicked the edge of the notebook perched on her thigh. “And you’re writing. This was supposed to be a night to relax. Why the hell are you working?”

She jerked the notebook away and jabbed the end of her pen into his chest, right into Rob Zombie’s eye. Nick would never dress his age; she was convinced he’d always look like a kid fresh out of high school.

“I just thought I’d document our night so people could see what happens when we actually get along. All they see is bickering and death threats.”

Hazel eyes bore into unnaturally dark orbs. He’d had such pretty eyes before the change. A scream from the T.V. sent both of their heads snapping around just in time to catch Ash severing the head off a hag with his chainsaw. Both gave a quiet cheer before looking at each other again.

“You have high hopes, cher. We never get along for more than a few minutes at a time.”

Renee laughed, more at the “Boom Stick” monologue playing on the screen than her surly companion. Nick wasn’t lying, though. The civil moments between them were few and far between. Now that she thought about it, the only person he argued with more was Acheron. That wasn’t a good sign at all.

The movie played on while she continued to write. Nick leaned over, their bodies touching shoulder to thigh. He made kissy noises in her ear. “Gimme some sugar, baby.”

She rolled her eyes and smacked his thigh, harder than she’d have done to someone not packing his impressive list of metaphysical powers. She had to give it to him; Nick was built to fight now. “In your dreams, demon bait. Stop screwing around and pass the popcorn.”

“Correction. You were the last one to dream about us together.” Nick flexed those impressive powers and called a bowl of fresh cheddar popcorn to his hand. “I’m not really that flexible, ya know.”

“Oh. My. Gods! You are such a pig, Nick.” She snatched the popcorn away from him and set it on the couch next to her with such force that some scattered across the cushion.

“You need to get laid before Bad Renee pops up and you end up dream-fucking more people you know.”

The pen furiously scribbling down their conversation paused. An indignant look swept across her face before she could check her emotions. Nick was intentionally trying to piss her off. She knew it down to her core, but still bit right through his bait into the hook.

“Stay out of my dreams, pervert.”

He gave her a look out of the corner of his eye while trying to pretend to be focused on the movie. “I wasn’t the one layin’ out a red carpet to anyone remotely attractive so they could hop into your sexual fantasies.”

“That shower scene where you though about Artie while…”

“Was a private moment, but you thought it’d make for a good scene to write.”

A blush crept up Renee’s cheeks as she remembered the day she sat down to write the scene in question. It was long, detailed, and really fucking hot. It was also the only time in her entire writing career that she felt like a voyeur. Something about her connection with Nick, even back then, made his private life seem more intimate, more personal to her. She still couldn’t figure out why.

“Death,” Nick said out of the blue. His muscular arm stretched over her lap to grab a handful of popcorn.

“Excuse me?”

“You were drawn to me because of how we both dealt with the loss of a parent.” He paused and shoved some of the popcorn in his mouth. “Neither of us could cope. Anger was the only real emotion we allowed ourselves to feel fully back then.”

Renee turned in her seat and gawked at the man. Other than his intrusion into her thoughts, this was not the Nick she’d known for over two years. “Who the fuck are you and what have you done with my pain in the ass Cajun?”

The movie paused. Renee jumped at the sudden silence from the surround sound system. Nick pinned his full attention on her. The anger he’d spoken of simmered in his eyes, changing their color. Goosebumps marched up her arms as she watched. Any time he snapped a cog it took days to clean up the mess. At least they were in his house this time.

“You’re a piece of work, you know that? Here I am opening up for your damn story and you dismiss my feelings like they are nothing but smoke in the air.” Hurt crossed his features before he turned away.

“How was I supposed to know you’d open up that much, Nick? It sounds like Freud is using you as a hand puppet.” The change in his mood had her scrambling for answers.

He bolted from the couch and started pacing around the large living room. As he passed on the third or fourth loop, she saw the scrawling designs of his other form bleeding onto the tanned flesh of his arms. Big Bad was trying to come out. Had she really pissed him off that bad?

“Look, Nick…”

“Stow it, okay? I was stupid to think you’d appreciate knowing why we’re so fucking close. It was nice having someone to share this shit with, for all of two god damned seconds.”

Nick moved towards the staircase just through the archway of the living room. The force of will he used to chase back his anger was nearly visible. He shuddered and took a deep breath. Renee remembered that she’d sent him to Acheron to learn how to control his emotions. Maybe the meditation practice was finally paying off.

She slid off the couch, notepad clutched to her chest to hide the fine trembling in her hands. “I’m sorry, Nick. We’re both so irreverent all the time… I thought you were joking. But you’re right.”

“Always am, cher. Even when folk don’t want to admit it.” He shot her a ghostly version of his trademark smile. “It’s late. Take the guest room for the night. We can cheer on the Deadites tomorrow.”

Renee eased up on her toes and kissed his cheek. “That’s why we get along so well, Nick. Who else would watch horror movies to cheer on the bad guys with me?”

“Only the truly sick and twisted. I’ve gotta run rounds. Don’t try to leave, the alarm sets automatically when I walk out that door.” Nick hefted his jacked off the banister. Inside the pockets knives, extra mags for his gun, and God knew what else clattered together.

“Try not to get shot again.”

“That only happened once. Can’t I live it down?”

“Nope.” Renee grinned as he gave a growl and walked out the door. It was almost a good night. Closest they’d had in a long time.


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