Unlikely

Title: Unlikely
Fandom: Days of our Lives
Characters: Steve and Nick
Rating: PG
Beta’d by: Slynn

Timeline: I know, technically Steve and Kayla should be on their way to Ireland while Nick’s part of the story took place but it’s Salem and I figure if Shelle can head to Australia on a cruise ship in only two days, then Steve and Kayla can fly to Ireland in a couple of hours.

Summary: Two unlikely people help each other.
Inspiration: Two separate plot points inspired me to write this. First, Steve was so lost upon hearing his daughter had been raped to only suddenly be on a plane heading to Ireland seemed like we missed out on him trying to rationalize it. The other point is how the show shamefully “dismissed” Nick from the episode where Chelsea meets up with her grandfather Victor. There was no reason for him to leave that episode after Chelsea went away, especially since he and Chelsea had a minor tiff before she left only for it to be completely forgotten next time we see them together.

Steve stared into his closet trying to keep his mind on the task at hand.

“Steve, don’t forget to take your leather jacket with lining, It’s a lot colder in Ireland than it is here.”

Steve stood with his back to his wife, knowing she was watching him and waiting for an answer.

“Steve?”

“Sure, Sweetness,” he answered, hoping she couldn’t hear the crack in his voice. He breathed a sigh of relief when she walked away. Turning back towards the room, Steve sat down on the bed and cursed…well, everything.

Steve had just found out in the last couple days what Stephanie, his baby, had experienced at the hands of Ford Decker. She’d been raped, months ago; even before the visit Steve and Bo had made with Ford.

“Fat lot of good that did,” Steve sneered.

“Did you say something?” he heard Kayla ask.

Telling her no, Steve felt his energy leave his body. He had to be strong, for Kayla and Stephanie. Stephanie had told them to go on to Ireland, to take Grampa Shawn to see his sister after 50 years of believing she was dead. If things weren’t so serious right now, Steve would make a joke about how Colleen now held the record of being presumed dead the longest.

Standing up, Steve went to grab some socks for his suitcase. What bothered Steve was how Stephanie probably thought the only reason they were leaving her was this business with Colleen. If it was, Kayla would have been able to handle it on her own or Roman could have gone. No, what Stephanie didn’t know was that Bo was probably dying and Kayla wanted, and should, tell him in person. There wasn’t a moment to lose.

But he couldn’t tell her daughter that, and his baby who had been through hell and back was putting on a brave face while sending her parents off, one-half of whom had never been there for her to begin with, to the other side of the world.

Feeling overcome with emotion, Steve made a break for the door. He heard Kayla call after him. Wishing his mouth wasn’t so dry, he tried to pacify her fears best he could, “I’m just going for a walk, I need to clear my head.”

“Steve,” he saw the worried look in Kayla’s eyes, “we don’t have a lot of time before we have to get…”

Steve cut her off and pasted a smile on his face, “I know Sweetness. I won’t go far; I just need some fresh air. Try to get as much as I can before I have to sit in a tin can for 12 hours.”

Shutting the door between them, before he had to wait on a response, Steve zipped his jacket and headed down the hall.

—————————

Nick stopped, realizing he had walked farther than he planned. Staring down at the river, Nick remembered the last time he had been on the docks; he met Stephanie here to question her about how much she knew of Jeremy’s criminal business. He did so to help out Chelsea, who had been asked to by Jett.

Thinking of Jett, Nick shook his head; that seemed like so long ago. At the time, his biggest worry was losing Chelsea forever to that muscle-headed moron. Nothing seemed important unless he had her. He gave up his job, his reputation, and even the money he won in Las Vegas just to try to help and protect her.

Now it’s all different. Nick never thought he would be so ready to even pretend to walk away from Chelsea until he heard the details of what really happened to Ford. The cover-up and everyone’s part in it had really disturbed him and he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be a part of it. He pushed Chelsea over and over to come forward, that Decker’s family deserved to know the truth, and finally she did. And for a few minutes everything seemed like it was going to be alright.
Until today. Crawford Decker reneged on his promise to not prosecute if he got his son’s body back. He was still angry at what happened to Ford, and he wanted someone to pay, and that person would be Chelsea.

Nick wiped tears from his eyes. Chelsea looked at him not ten minutes ago, glared at him, his promises that everything would be alright seemed empty and shallow, even when he said it. Nick’s quest to have Chelsea do the right thing probably was going to send her to prison, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Always, no matter what his relationship to Chelsea was at the time, he’d been able to help her. This time he had never felt so helpless, and it was killing him to see Chelsea hurting. Feeling tired, Nick tilted his head back as he sat down on a nearby bench. Like Chelsea, he just wished this would all go away.

A sound snapped his head upright and Nick noticed a figure coming out of the shadows. Instantly he jumped up, he didn’t know who to expect down here and it was foolish to come while it was so late. Looking around to see if he was pinned in a corner, Nick quickly asked, “Who are you?”

“Relax, Nick, it’s just me.”

“Oh, Mr. Johnson,” Nick said, visibly relieved. “It’s you.”

Steve cringed, “Please don’t call me Mr. Johnson. I’m Steve to you. To everyone.”

“Sorry, what are you doing down here? I thought you and Dr. Johnson were headed to Ireland?”

Steve shook his head, taking a seat on the bench while Nick did the same. “No, I mean yes. Right now we’re packing. I mean Kayla is. I had to take a walk.”

Nick didn’t know Stephanie’s father that well, but his answer to Nick’s innocent question proved something was bothering him. He usually was such a relaxed and confident guy. Not sure what to say, he simply asked, “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not. I’m…well, you were there the other day. Stephanie was raped and I’m not okay. Neither is she.”

“Oh, God, that’s right,” Nick said feeling completely like a heel. Of course Steve wouldn’t be himself, he just found out about the rape of his only daughter. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking… of course you…”

“Please, just…shut up,” Steve said, but not harshly. Nick knew not to take offense. Both men sat on the bench silently watching the lamppost light hit the river below.

“You know what, Nick?”

“What, Mr. John-, Steve.”

“This is the quietest you’ve ever been around me.”

Nick turned and looked at the older man who was giving him a soft smile. Nick tried to return it but didn’t feel like it.

“I guess I have a lot on my mind too.”

“Oh?” Steve asked, glad to have something else to talk about.

“Yeah, Crawford came into the pub just now and told us he planned on prosecuting Chelsea for Ford’s death.”

“I thought he decided not to…”

“Well, he changed his mind,” Nick said, feeling the anger and bitterness within him. He got off the bench, “He’s out to get Chelsea, wanting to ruin two lives over this mess.”

“Three lives,” Steve said. Nick glanced at him and Steve glared, “Stephanie’s was affected.”

Nick closed his mouth, he didn’t agree with that. “Mr. Johnson, I’m sorry, Steve, with all due respect, Stephanie’s life hasn’t been ruined from the rape.”

Suddenly, the anger in Steve took over and he shot off the bench faster than Nick would have believed and grabbed him, “What do you know about rape? Stephanie is the latest in a long line of women in my family who have been raped… and it changes them forever.”

“Sir, I’m sorry, I can’t imagine how that must feel and I didn’t mean to say I don’t think it’s serious, or that it doesn’t change a woman. But I think Stephanie can get through this. She’s strong, and she’s got you and Kayla and the rest of the Bradys and Johnsons to support her.”

Steve felt the guilt rush him and he let go of Nick, walking away. Nick, wanting to further drive his point home, went on, “She’s also been going to therapy and joined a support group…”

Nick stopped when he heard Steve say something. Not making it out, Nick asked him to repeat it.

Steve turned to face him then, “Stephanie doesn’t have us does she? We’re heading to Ireland, leaving her here alone to deal with this.”

“What?” Nick asked, but Steve didn’t say anything else. Figuring it out, Nick said, “You don’t want to go to Ireland do you? You want to stay here with Stephanie?”

“Yes!” Steve said the first time honestly. When he and Kayla spoke about this the previous day, Steve had held back his feelings. Kayla felt Stephanie would be alright, and since they got confirmation from their daughter, Kayla needed Steve to be with her in Ireland. He’d never felt so torn in all his life. Now his decision was giving him guilt that he’d never felt before. Just because Stephanie said it was okay didn’t make it so.

Not knowing any of this, Nick walked towards Steve, “You can’t cancel or postpone the trip?”

Sighing, Steve shook his head, “No, I can’t. I…it’s not just about taking Shawn to Ireland, there is much more to it. I can’t say what, but I promise I wouldn’t be leaving if there wasn’t more.”

“Steve, you know, you have every right to feel guilty. I mean… it’s natural to. You want to be there for Stephanie and not leave her side, but you can’t be in two places at once.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Well, I don’t know if you meant what you said just now, but you’re wrong about one thing.”

Steve whisked around and glared at Nick. “Wrong about what?”

Swallowing, Nick answered, “She won’t be alone.”

Steve glared at Nick for a second but the younger man wasn’t backing down, “She’s got Max right by her side, and me. And Roman is helping her as much as he can. And I don’t think Chelsea has left her alone for a day since finding out the truth of what Ford did to her. You and Dr. Johnson are only going to be gone for a couple or at most three days. Stephanie is going to be fine.”

“I know, it’s just, I still don’t want to leave. I’ve never not wanted to go on a trip more in my life.”

Nick nodded, “I bet. I wish I could offer myself to go in your place but, with this thing with Decker and Chelsea, I’m not going anywhere.”

Steve smiled, “Chelsea is lucky to have you.”

The statement made Nick flinch rather than smile. He watched as Nick went back to the bench, sitting down and said, “I don’t know about that.”

“What do you mean?” Steve said, sitting down again. “You have been by her side through this whole thing and God knows you’ve stuck with her in the past…”

“I pushed her.”

“What?”

“I pushed her into coming forward about what happened with Ford, and now she may be going to prison for it.”

Steve took a breath and sat down again. Nick continued, “I thought, when she told me about what happened, I thought they needed to come forward immediately. The longer they took the worse it would be. I believed her that it was an accident, Ford dying, but… the police were closing in and I could see what this was going to Chelsea… she could hardly sleep, eat, or…”

“Nick, Chelsea is an adult. You might have pushed her to come forward but in the end it was her decision. Plus, I think… as bad as it looks now, I think things are going to work out.”

Nick laughed at that, a mocking one. “Really? What makes you think that?”

Steve smiled, thinking of a time that was so long ago. When Kayla pushed him time and time again to admitting to what he had done wrong, she was always right. Always. “Because, Nick, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t come forward myself, though I was pushed along by someone a lot prettier than you. It was never easy but it always did work out. Eventually.”

Nick didn’t say anything. He couldn’t believe it was as simple as that.

“Kayla stood by me when I was going through crap like Chelsea is going through now. She’d been the motivation behind getting me to talk in the first place. And usually everything hit the fan when I did. And I’m not saying Kayla wouldn’t be scared or worried, but she never left my side, and she let me lean on her whenever I needed it. If you do that for Chelsea, I think you’ll find the Deckers of this world won’t have a lot to say in what happens in your life.”

Just then, Steve’s cell phone rang and answered it. “Hey, Sweetness. No, I’m alright. Actually, I’m good. Really, I’m on my way back now.”

Nick watched as Steve got up and before he walked away he turned and help up his phone, “See? That’s Kayla now doing what she always does. Pushing me to do the right thing, which is heading to Ireland and take care of Shawn and Bo-err, the Bradys. I want to thank you Nick, thanks for reminding me of that.”

Nick watched as Steve literally ran off. Getting up he checked his watch and wondered if Chelsea was done with Kate and Billie. He didn’t really care; he pulled out his phone and called her, feeling relief when she picked up.

“Chelsea? It’s me. Please, let me come by and be with you, I want to-. What? You met with Victor? What do you mean it’s over?”

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