Fanfiction: Sneak Attack, Necessary Roughness, PG
Title: Sneak Attack
Spoilers: through S1 Ep 12
Character/Pairing: Nico Careles, Dani Santino, Terrence “TK” King; totally Careles/Santino
Summary: Later, he got up, poured himself a second cup and confirmed she now had regular creamer in her fridge.
Author's note: I love these characters for getting me back into writing again. I hate these characters for getting me back into writing! :-) Nico intrigues me, annoys me, and challenges me… pretty much like he does Dani. I prefer shorter character pieces. And in this one, I love how it’s Dani who’s known all along and it’s Nico who gets sneak attacked.
Thanks to ET, bets_cyn for the beta and to brokenroots for the encouragement.
He realized she was worming her way into his life when one late night talk – meeting – he frowned at his coffee and realized it didn’t have her French Vanilla creamer that he’d become accustomed to at these meetings. Later, he got up, poured himself a second cup and confirmed she now had regular creamer in her fridge. The fact that he couldn’t pinpoint if this started that night or earlier didn’t worry him a whole lot. What concerned him was the fact he’d become accustomed to her creamer and never realized it.
He smiled more, he acknowledged, but only with her. She was a force of nature – like a star in his dark world. She brightened the world of everyone she knew, so he’d learned to accept it in his own, because there wasn’t a way he could stop it that he could see … and he’d looked … hard.
He accepted she was a part of his daily life when one day she didn’t show up at his office for lunch and he left his office to find her. It had become habit for her to stop by and that evolved into eating lunch together. They’d talked about how the team was originally – he’d learned fast how to phrase questions to elicit information she was willing to share about her patients. But then the topics would vary from there – books, movies, music, her kids. He recognized her need to decompress especially after TK sessions and gave her that outlet – it was his job to keep team assets happy. He acknowledged that lunch stopped being about a team asset somewhere around lunch three and he found he couldn’t stop them if he’d wanted to – not that he wanted to.
Which lead him here – standing outside her office, breathing easier now that he was certain she was safe and just in an extra long TK session. He smiled as he heard her words, "All right, Terence, we both know you’ll be fine. And I’m late. There is a lunch I am missing."
But he frowned at TK’s response as TK laughed. "You’re as bad as he is, Doc! Everybody knows you two are together."
He could imagine the frown he heard in Doctor Santino’s response. "TK, my personal life and Nico’s are not topics for team gossip!"
"Aw come on, we ain’t stupid, Doc! We see the way you two look at each other when you know the other isn’t looking. And ain’t nobody talking to anyone outside the team. Yous two deserve each other! You’re our heart and he’s the glue. All the guys agree – you deserve each other." TK whined, but even Nico could tell he was mostly serious.
Nico wondered if Dani had realized the team saw them that way – he was fairly certain she hadn’t.
"TK, that’s for us to work out, if the time comes. It’s not something that can be rushed or you guys can just decree," was Doctor Santino’s soft reply.
Nico froze – they were at her office door. He was about to be caught and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. He reached for the door handle as they opened it. "Ah, there you are Doctor Santino," he spoke. He didn’t fool her – he could read that in her eyes. She knew he’d been there longer than what he was trying to portray.
"Opps, sorry, Nico. Didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch plans." TK grinned.
Dani rolled her eyes and pushed him down the hall. She watched him skip down the hall then turned back to Nico. "Sorry, TK was being TK." Dani shrugged.
They were half way to his office when he realized two things. One was that he was in love with Doctor Danielle Santino. It felt nothing like the hot hunger it had been with Gabriella that first time, which told him that this was likely actually love and not what Gabriella had called love but had been just manipulations and ownership. And second, she’d been patiently waiting for him to realize it.
She was frowning up at him. "Nico, are you all right?" He could read the worry in her eyes, likely from his sudden stop and pensive look.
"I am fine, Doctor Santino, just hungry." He blinked and resumed their walk to his office. He ushered her inside and then locked the door. This conversation was too important to leave to chance or over-excited football players.
"Nico, you’re worrying me. What’s wrong? Is something wrong with Juliette? The kids?" Dani jumped up and started to pace, agitated.
He moved into her path and stopped her by holding her upper arms. "How long have you known?" It wasn’t a demand but a soft question.
Dani looked at him confused. "Known what?" He knew the look in his eyes changed to the soft look he’d watch her with at night in her kitchen that she’d sometimes catch out of the corner of her eye.
She started speaking again, even though he hadn’t answered her question. "Looking back, I think it actually started the day you told me Linds was involved in the merchandise situation and you said your mother wasn’t as good as me. I started to see it the night you came to tell me TK had been shot and while I was scared and worried for TK, my mind kept getting caught on the hurt I’d seen on your face. I realized I had fallen in love with you the day I picked up French Vanilla creamer and regular creamer like it was just my normal thing."
"The creamer – the night I realized it was regular and that I had grown accustomed to your French Vanilla is when I began to realize just how far you’d pushed your way into my life." Nico sighed. "And when you didn’t show up for lunch today, I realized you were a part of my daily life. It had stopped being an outlet for a team asset around lunch three."
Dani smiled up at him, took a step closer to him, deep into his personal space, and grinned up at him. "If I had known all it’d take was TK keeping me late, I’d have arranged that weeks ago!" She laughed and rested her hands on his chest.
This time when he asked "How long?" he could tell she knew exactly what he was asking. "For you, Nico Careles? Forever. I’d have waited for you forever."
He brushed the hair out of her face and for once let her see everything he felt in his eyes – for a moment before he settled into kissing her.
That was how Nico Careles came to realize that not only had one Doctor Danielle Santino firmly implanted herself into his life, she’d also stolen his heart he’d thought long lost.