AU. Nick Burkhardt and Juliette Silverton are living a contented life with their two year old daughter, Kasey, and working in jobs that they love. But in a single moment, one event can change everything; and today's the day when dreaming ends. Story takes place over the course of one day. Pre-series. First Grimm Fic.
Chapter Three: A Little Drop of Rain
“How are they looking?” Jack Barrowman asked, as he came through to the kitchen where a makeshift ‘den’ had been created in a space that was out of the way of family life; his wife, Eva, was currently measuring out the recommended puppy size meals that would gradually replace their mastiff mother’s milk over the next week or so; the measurements increasing gradually to get them used to solids.
“They are looking absolutely great,” Juliette said with a smile in her voice, as she gently rubbed one puppies belly and rubbed another behind its floppy ear. “And they are getting pretty big too, which is a good sign.”
She turned from her position on the floor beside the ‘den’ to give the tall man a smile. “Soon they’ll be bigger than their dad,” she mused lightly.
“And how is your little one?” Eva asked, finished the last measure, before turning back to the young vet and her husband, who had just put the kettle on.
“She’s doing great,” Juliette smiled. “Slowly easing into the terrible two’s at the moment.”
“I’m sure you and your fiancé will be fine,” Eva smiled. “From what you’ve told us, Kasey sounds like a pretty good kid,”
“Oh, she is.” Juliette nodded, as she lightly tickled the belly rubbing pup who let out a squeak of delight as their mother watched calmly – having known Juliette before her litter was born and being comfortable with her being near her litter. “Nick and I – we couldn’t be happier,” she smiled.
“Are you sure we can’t tempt you into taking one, Juliette?” Jack asked. “Those two have really taken to you – I’m sure one would make a great little playmate for Kasey.”
“They really would,” Juliette nodded. “But with Nick and I getting back into work, and with Kasey with the childminder, it really wouldn’t be fair.”
Jack nodded. “Understandable,” he said, before asking. “Would you like to have some tea before you go?”
Checking the time, and knowing she was earlier than planned after a last minute cancellation, the young vet smiled. “Okay, thank you.” She nodded, knowing that Kasey was in very capable hands with Nick picking her up.
A thin drizzle began to fall over Portland as the afternoon turned into evening; and grey clouds moved across the earlier blue sky to form a blanket of grey over the city.
Coming to a stop outside a two storey brownstone situated in Portland’s city suburbs, Nick Burkhardt turned off his pickup trucks ignition and pulled his light jackets collar up as high as it could go before stepping out into the drizzle. After Juliette’s phone call, Nick and Hank has pushed on with the paperwork that had required the two detective’s attention; the pair had managed to work through a majority of the now much smaller piles, and had agreed to come to a sensible stopping point for the day. Hank had sent Nick off to pick up Kasey while he submitted what that had completed, and would be making a detour to his own home to freshen up before heading over to Nick’s until Juliette returned.
Jogging up the small set of steps leading to the porch, Nick took a moment to shake his now slightly damp hair to remove the rain droplets that clung to brown strands, before ringing the doorbell to the home of Amanda Simmons. Dressed casually in the navy coloured shirt he had put on that morning with a grey undershirt, dark jeans and worn leather jacket, Nick blended in perfectly with the suburban surroundings
Amanda and Juliette had been friends since High School; but while Juliette had gone onto study to become a vet, Amanda had married and started a family with her husband, Danny- with whom she now had three children – one of whom was a year older than Kasey. When Juliette and Nick had first began to discuss the possibility of leaving Kasey with a childminder upon their return to work, Amanda had been one of their top choices- and they had been grateful to her since; especially as Kasey got on great with little Benjamin.
“Hey there, Nick,”
Nick stopped trying to tame his now slightly ruffled hair at the greeting, and instead turned around to offer Amanda a warm smile which mirrored the young woman’s own. With Black Hair and blue eyes, Amanda was the opposite of Juliette with her more tanned skin tone compared to Juliette’s own pale complexion; while both women had bounced back from their respective pregnancies – Amanda had toned up, and was planning on taking a fitness instructor course once Benjamin and Kasey headed off to kindergarten.
“Hey there, Amanda.” Nick greeted. “I’m just here to pick up Kasey; Juliette’s had go to a last minute call and asked me to pick her up.” He explained.
“Of course, come in,” Amanda nodded with a smile, as she ushered the young detective in from the dreary outdoors and into the warm house.
“How has Kase been?” Nick asked, as he closed the wooden door behind him and followed Amanda through the brightly lit hallway displaying pieces of art and photos along the wall leading to the staircase.
Walking into the living room, Nick was careful not to tread on any of the toys that littered the floor. It looks like our place when Kase has been running around, Nick mused as he dodged a few building blocks deftly, as a smile played on his lips.
“Well, after you called about her not being hungry this morning, I gave her something to eat earlier, but it didn’t sit well and she brought it up about half an hour ago...” Amanda answered with a small frown. After Nick’s call this morning about Kasey’s slightly warmer forehead, Amanda had kept a closer eye on the toddler. “I did notice she was rubbing her ear quite a bit before and after she’d eaten- could be that she’s picked up an infection.”
Nick frowned; as he brought a hand up to absentmindedly rub the back of his neck in a worrying manner. I knew something wasn’t right, the young detective thought- berating himself as he often did when missing something; whether it be in regards to a case or at home.
Juliette knew that her partner tended to be highly protective of their small family unit – even affectionately calling him a mother hen after Kasey had taken a small tumble after he had returned home from work. But with being around their daughter so much in the past months as she got used to being on her feet, and tumbling all over the place when she took a misstep, the young Vet had managed to reign in her protective motherly nature – and tended to remain as calm as Amanda looked to be.
While to Amanda, as she watched the emotions currently flickering across her friends face, Nick reminded her of her own husband- Danny - and his similar reactions to their daughter’s being ill when their oldest daughter, Lisa, had been sick and was no older than Kasey was now. When the little girl had caught a bug, Danny had felt awful for not thinking anything of the little girls slight change in personality – it hadn’t been noticeable, and the doctor had assured them both that catching such bugs were normal; but when it’s your first child, you constantly worry with the new experiences. Amanda was seeing the exact same look on Nick’s face now as she had seen on Danny’s back then.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, Nick,” Amanda added, with a soothing tone of reassurance as she watched the young detective silently berating himself for not noticing anything out of the ordinary sooner. “Kids Kasey’s age get sick more than we do; she’ll be okay.”
Nick looked into Amanda’s warm blue eyes and let out a shaky breath, nodding. While at work he was a cool, calm, and collected detective; when it came to the safety of Juliette and Kasey, Nick couldn’t always hold that facade. The logical part of his brain – the detective part – was telling him the same thing Amanda was, and Juliette would probably agree that this was nothing series. However the paternal instinct Kasey had awakened in Nick was slightly overruling the logic at the thought of his child being anything but 100% fit and healthy.
“I’ll take her to the clinic to get her checked out on the way home,” Nick finally spoke, straightening his shoulders unconsciously as he did so. “Thank you,” he added, with a grateful nod – his words putting across more than he could convey in actions.
Amanda smiled and nodded. “No problem, Nick.”
“I’d better go grab the Little Bandit,” the young detective said with a smile.
Amanda gave a light laugh at the reference, “She’s in the Den asleep,” she said, before gesturing for Nick to follow as a flush of red entered her cheeks from her laughter.
“I’m guessing the name has officially stuck then?” the slightly older woman smiled, in reference to Kasey’s nickname that had been doing the rounds around the small circle of friends both parents belonged to.
“Seems that way,” Nick nodded. “Every kid has gotta’ have a nickname, right?” he said as the pair walked through the quiet kitchen and into the den.
The Den was a conservatory like structure that had everything to keep tiny tots preoccupied – as well as a child sofa bed and cot ready for nap time. It meant that the kids weren’t likely to get into trouble with any stairs and that Amanda could get her own house work and business done while keeping an eye on her two charges.
Coming to the open door that linked the Den with the kitchen, both parents took a moment – standing side by side- to watch over their respective children.
Little Benjamin was situated on the child size sofa bed often used during sleepover’s; his dark hair sticking up in little tufts from him moving around so much in his sleep. Kasey meanwhile was in the cot; her face seemed a little more flushed than normal, Nick noted, but she seemed to be sleeping alright. It was still curious to see both toddlers laying still in their sleep in comparison to their normal hyperactive selves; Nick in particular felt a pang of guilt, as he had begun to miss this simple sight of Kasey sleeping soundly more and more as he returned to his job full time- he would often catch a glimpse of the youngster only before going to sleep himself. The young detective had forgotten how relaxing it was to just watch Kasey sleep as she was now; I’ll have to ask Juliette if she feels the same later, he thought, thinking of Juliette’s own vigils of their sleeping daughter.
“That’s the best she’s looked all afternoon,” Amanda whispered, nodding in Kasey’s direction; glad to see a healthier flush of colour in the toddlers features, after they had turned into a slightly pasty shade after her short bout of being sick.
Nick glanced over to Amanda before giving a small smile and nodding. Knowing that sleep was doing the toddler good, made Nick feel ever the more guilty for having to pick her up, and possibly waking her up in the process. But he wanted to make a pit stop at the clinic for a check up before heading home, and he wanted to let Juliette know what was going on, and to not worry – as she would when Nick told her of the impromptu trip to the doctor’s with their two year old.
Moving stealthily into the room, so as not to disrupt Benjamin, Nick reached the cot and brushed a hand lightly through slightly damp curls; the motion causing Kasey to turn into his hand instinctively – whether from recognizing the touch, or the coolness of Nicks skin the detective wasn’t sure. The detective smiled at the motion; brushing his thumb lightly over a flushed cheek and listening to Kasey’s soft breathing. After a few moments, Nick moved to gently tuck the blanket covering Kasey around her before lifting her into his arms. Kasey made a noise at the sudden change, but Nick murmured softly; resting the little girl’s head on his shoulder as he made sure she was covered enough to protect her from the slightly cool temperatures outside – he didn’t want to disrupt her by trying to manoeuvre her into the small jacket that matched the dungarees the toddler was dressed in along with a light coloured t-shirt.
Kasey quickly settled again – showing how exhausted the toddler was when she didn’t open her eyes at the sudden change in position – and buried her head into the crook between Nick’s neck and shoulder. Nick planted a kiss on the toddler’s slightly warm forehead at the unconscious motion that saw her small hand curl into a fist holding some of Nick’s jacket. Walking back the way he came, Nick was greeted by Amanda, who had retrieved Kasey’s baby bag with her small jacket draped across it.
“She’s out like a light,” he murmured, as he reached Amanda, while rubbing Kasey’s back soothingly up and down to remove the slight tension he could feel in the muscles below.
“She’s just exhausted,” Amanda smiled, “she’ll be okay in a few days, I’m sure,”
“Yeah,” Nick nodded; feeling more relaxed now upon seeing the youngster.
“I’ll let you out,” Amanda whispered, the baby bag still in hand, as she led Nick back the way he came. Upon reaching the door, Nick took the bag and slung it over the opposite shoulder to Kasey’s sleeping form.
“Thank you, again, Amanda,” he smiled. “I’ll call you later?”
“Let me know how she goes,” Amanda affirmed, before opening the door for him.
Outside, the weather had let up, the drizzle still continued but it was very light – not something that could make Kasey any worse, Nick thought absentmindedly, as he took in the darker grey clouds on the horizon; the feeling of a storm in the air.
With a final nod to Amanda, Nick quickly made his way down the much darker porch steps and to his pickup truck. Opening the back passenger door, Nick half sat on the back seat, as he lowered Kasey into the car seat that was situated in the middle of the back seat. Kasey grumbled lightly, as Nick gently removed his jacket from her grip, and fastened her in. Satisfied that she was comfortable, the detective slid out of the back, and closed the door as he felt something cold and wet hit the top of his head- symbolising the start of new shower.
Getting into the driver’s seat, Nick inserted the keys into the ignition and made sure the heater would come on, before sending a wave of farewell Amanda’s way and pulling away from the curb.
“Thanks again,” Juliette called, as she left the Barrowman’s and headed toward her truck. Stepping out of the house, Juliette also felt the droplets of rain begin to fall, as she left her ante-penultimate visit.
“Crap,” the young vet muttered, as she replaced her kit into her trunk and walked around to the driver’s side door to her black pickup. While the roads up to the stud farms where safe for the most part, the visibility if the rain got any heavier could make the journey less than fun.
“Please hold off until later,” Juliette mumbled, as she got into the truck and turned on the heater along with ignition. Letting the warmth from the heater wash over her, Juliette let out a small sigh before starting to drive to the first of the two stud farms she needed to visit before going home.