Note: Okay, so this one presented me with some difficulties, because try as I might "Spies" is not a love song. I love that song, though, and I refused to let something as minor as the lyrics stop me from writing - and I hope it turned out okay...

Nick has troubles sleeping sometimes. He doesn't really remember when it started, it seems to always have been part of his life - even when he was just a little boy dreaming of being a star. There have always been nights when he tosses and turns in his bed, unable to fall asleep. He has tried everything - from drinking hot milk over counting sheep to listening to tapes with white noise. But nothing seems to help.
When he has almost have given up on sleep and is ready to turn on the TV or listen to some music until the morning he would suddenly drift off. But the sleep then is not refreshing and relaxing, because that's when Nick dreamed of _them_.

He is not sure who or what they are, only that those dreams, those nightmares are the most frightening thing he has ever experienced. More frightening than the night AJ told him this horror story in the dark of their hotel room and suddenly all the lights went out. Even more frightening than Brian's surgery, when Nick was so scared, so terribly scared that his best friend would die.
And all that although he never remembers more than this almost overwhelming sense of paranoia, of being chased from one place to the next knowing that there is no safety, no haven he can reach. That all he can do was keep going, from one hiding place to the next. Because _they_ are everywhere - and for some unknown reason they want Nick.

On nights like this Nick wakes up after perhaps one or two hours of troubled sleep, fear gripping his heart, his sheets plastered to his skin, clammy with cold sweat, his pulse racing and his hands trembling. He can't even scream because he's afraid to make a noise.
Afterwards he lies in his bed, wide awake and staring into the darkness. "They're not real, they're not real - it was just a dream!" he repeats in his head over and over. But he still doesn't dare to close his eyes for fears that _they_ have somehow found their way into his room. He doesn't sleep anymore afterwards.
He doesn't have these dreams often, just once in a while. And when whoever he is rooming with asks him about it, Nick only shrugs and says "Nightmare" as if it is nothing special, nothing that terrifies him.

When they are in Europe for the first time and are all sharing rooms Nick is at first relieved, thinking that it might be calming when there is someone else in the same room. But he is wrong - the small noises the other person makes suddenly sound ominous and scary when he lies there, his hands gripping his sheets. He tells himself: "It's only Brian - he's got a cold." Or: "It's just AJ getting all tangled into his sheets again." But it doesn't help. And with another person to think of he can't even turn on the light. They already treat him like a baby anyway - there's no way he's going to turn on the light like a small child afraid of the dark. Although he is - not a small child, but afraid of the dark. Because he never succeeds in convincing himself that _they_ won't get him here.

As he grows up Nick notices that the nightmare usually returns when there's a lot of strain on him, for example during the whole Lou thing. Or when Kevin wants to get married and management makes it sound as if this would be the end of the group. Or when there are articles about his weight in the teen magazines. And of course when AJ got worse and worse and Nick fears that they might lose him.
So he tries to meditate, to play a lot of basket ball or work out hard on days when he feels as if he might break apart if someone touches him the wrong way. This helps somewhat. He also tries clubbing and partying, but for some reason that just seems to make the nightmare more intense, perhaps because it makes him hyper and on the edge. So he tries to avoid going out when he feels as if a nightmare is imminent.

Strangely enough it is Kevin who asks him about it. Nick would have expected it to be Brian, because they are still close, or Howie, because Howie always worries about everyone. Kevin also worries, but more in a "Tell me where you're going" and "You know this is not good for you" way.
But it is Kevin who corners Nick in his hotel room one day and asks him: "Is everything alright with you, Nick?" And Nick tries to shrug it off and say "Sure, I'm fine!" but Kevin is insistent. "I've watched you for a while Nick - and I know there is something up when you don't want to go clubbing and instead work out like crazy, It's always on days when you're stressed out and I just _know_ that there's a reason for it." Kevin's green eyes go all soft as he looks at Nick and takes his hand, squeezing it gently. "Please, Nick - tell me. Who knows, I might be able to help you..."

And suddenly Nick wants to tell him and wonders why he hasn't done so before. But the nightmare is something strangely personal and without really thinking about it Nick has felt reluctant to talk about it with anyone. But now, when Kevin looks at him and his hand is so warm around Nick's, Nick thinks that perhaps Kevin is right and could help him.
So he tells him all about the dreams, about how they frighten him more than anything and how he tries to keep them away with sport and meditation. And through it all Kevin holds his hand, almost as if he is not even aware of it, focussing completely on Nick's story.

And when Nick is through Kevin doesn't laugh or make light of it, but simply pulls Nick into a tight hug, murmuring into his ear how glad he is that Nick has trusted him with this and how they'll find a way to make the nightmare go away. His deep voice is so soothing and his hands are on Nick's back and Nick can't help but relax into Kevin's arms.
After a while they break apart, but their knees are still touching and Kevin offers to stay in a suite with Nick from now on, their doors open, so Nick can easily call him. And although a part of him feels a bit like a 8-year-old, Nick feels incredibly relieved and accepts gratefully.

It's actually kind of cool to share a suite with Kevin - Kevin can be a lot of fun when he allows himself to relax and sometime during the last year he has stopped treating Nick like a child and had started to take him seriously. Of course this doesn't stop him from teasing him, but it makes their relationship a lot more equal. And Nick discovers that he really enjoys spending more time with Kevin now.
He doesn't even mind when Kristin is around, because she's nice and fun and sometimes even teams up with Nick to tease Kevin - completely different from Brian and Leighanne who are always wrapped up in each other and all "Yes, honey" and "You're right, pookie" (although Leighanne does not _really_ call Brian that, but she easily could, Nick thinks).

And then it's another restless night and Nick just _knows_ that he'll have another nightmare. But he doesn't call Kevin, because Kristin is here and he doesn't want to disturb them if it's not necessary.
But when he wakes up and his heart is beating so fast that he fears it might jump out of his chest he gathers his courage and calls weakly: "Kevin!" And although Kevin sleeps like a log he seems to almost have waited for Nick's call, because he's there right away, slipping into bed with Nick and cradling him in his strong arms. And Nick feels safe, protected, although he is taller than Kevin. He is still shaking a bit and Kevin's hands begin to rub his arms and his back, while Kevin whispers into Nick's ear in his deep drawl. Nick doesn't really listen to what he says, it's enough that he's there, his warm body pressed against Nick's.

There's still a part of Nick that is caught up in the dream, but the feeling of something strange and dark in his room fades as he buries his face in Kevin's neck and tightens his grip around his middle. He takes in Kevin's musky scent that reminds him of deep woods and the sea all at once and suddenly he wonders whether Kevin tastes as good as he smells.
Before the rational part of his mind can shriek a warning Nick's tongue has already slipped out and licked Kevin's neck, the spot right beneath his ear. Kevin tastes good, so good in fact that Nick presses his lips against the spot, just to freeze in shock as he realizes what he has done.

But Kevin doesn't seem to mind. On the contrary, his heads rolls a bit to the side, exposing more of his throat, and his hands slip under Nick's wet t-shirt and wander in lazy circles over his bare skin. Nick can't suppress a shiver and presses another open mouthed kiss on Kevin's neck, nuzzling him a bit for good measure. Again Kevin doesn't say anything, but his hands move a bit lower and suddenly Nick needs to be closer, needs more skin contact.
He carefully begins to plant kisses everywhere he can reach and his hands mirror Kevin's and cup a firm ass, grinding their hips together. They are both breathing harder now and their erections are rubbing against each other through two layers of thin cloth. Kevin moans deep in his throat as Nick bites down on a hard nipple through Kevin's tee. The sound is so sexy that Nick thinks he could come just from hearing this.

But it gets better still, because Kevin rolls over and covers Nick's body with his own and kisses him, his tongue scraping over the roof of Nick's mouth. It's Nick's turn to moan now because Kevin's kisses are perfect - not too hasty, not too wet, changing between deep and passionate and shallow and teasing. And all the while their hips are grinding against each other, and although it's such a teenage thing to do Nick knows that he will come just from making out like this with Kevin. But Kevin surprises him again and slips a hand between their bodies and inside Nick's boxers and Nick arches off the bed and moans "Kevin, Kevin" over and over again as he feels warm and dry fingers wrap themselves around his hardness.

Kevin speeds up the up and down of his hand and the rotation of his hips, they have to stop kissing because it gets hard to breathe and suddenly Nick is there and screams, losing himself in his high. He doesn't even notice Kevin follow him over the edge shortly afterwards, just feels his now so familiar weight as he collapses on top of him.
After a while he rolls over, taking Nick with him, so that his head rests on Kevin's shoulder. For a while they lie there in silence and Nick is suddenly afraid that Kevin will hate him for what he has done. But when Kevin speaks his voice is soft and tender, Nick can almost feel it like a caress and he knows that everything will be alright.

"Are you still afraid?" Kevin asks, his hand rubbing Nick's back. And Nick suddenly realizes that he's not, that there is not the least bit of fear left inside of him. So he shakes his head, knowing that Kevin will feel his movement, but he whispers anyway: "No, I'm not..." And there is this tremor in his voice that tells Kevin that it's true and he smiles and pulls Nick's warm body even closer, if that's possible.
Nick hears the smile in Kevin's voice as he says: "I told you I'd be able to help you, Nicky..."
"Thanks, Kev!" Feeling suddenly very tired Nick drapes his body all over Kevin to fall into a deep, relaxing and dreamless sleep.

And this is the last time _they_ haunt Nick's dreams. For a while Kevin stays in a suite with Nick and comes to his bed when he needs him. But in time all Nick needs to chase the nightmare away is the memory of Kevin's presence - so much more real than the shadows and so much nicer to dream about...

Coldplay - Spies

I awake to find no peace of mind,
I said 'how do you live as a fugitive?'
Down here where I cannot see so clear.
I said, what do I know?
Show me the right way to go,

And the spies came out of the water,
But you're feeling so bad cos you know,
But the spies hide out in every corner,
But you can't touch them though,
Cos they're all spies.
They're all spies.

I awake to see that no one is free,
We're all fugitives,
Look at the way we live.
Down here, I cannot sleep from fear no.
I said, which way do I turn?
Oh I forget everything I learn,

But the spies came out of the water,
But you're feeling so bad cos you know,
But the spies hide out in every corner,
But you can't touch them though,
Cos they're all spies,
They're all spies.

And if we all hide here,
They're going to find us,
If we don't hide now,
They're going to catch us where we sleep,
And if we don't hide here,
They're going to find us.

And the spies came out of the water,
But you're feeling so good cos you know,
And those spies hide out in every corner,
And they can't touch you no,
Cos they're just spies.
They're just spies.
They're just spies.
They're just spies.
They're just spies.

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