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They got back to the apartment several hours later. The doctor had given both kids a clean bill of health. They were exhausted, mentally and physically and all Kevin wanted to do was get everyone bathed and into bed.
He sent Nick and Odin to the couch to watch TV while he got Saoirse bathed and diapered. Once she was clean and snuggly, he traded kids with Nick and took the boy into his own bath. Both kids were full of yawns by the time he was done. Putting them down to sleep was relatively easy and as soon as they were fast asleep Nick was having trouble keeping his eyes open.

"Come on baby," Kevin said, taking the blonde by the arm. "Let me help you take a shower and then let's climb into bed."

Nick nodded and followed Kevin down the hallway and into the master bedroom. Kevin quickly stripped off his clothes and then reached for the hem of Nick's shirt. He pulled it gently up over the other man's head and once it was clear he tossed it towards the hamper before drawing the younger man into his arms and holding him tight. Nick immediately snuggled it to the depths of Kevin's embrace, his head nestled between Kevin's neck and his collarbone. Kevin held him for several moments, just giving him the comfort that Nick so desperately needed. When they broke away Nick held a small smile. "I love you." He whispered.

Kevin cupped the side of Nick's face in his large hand. "I love you too baby. Come on, let's get you undressed." He went to work unbuckling and unzipping Nick's jeans before he pushed them and his underwater down his muscled thighs. He wanted to do so many things to make the younger man feel better, but he knew now wasn't the time. He helped Nick step out of his pants and shoes and took him by the hand to the bathroom.

Turning on the taps as hot as they would go, he went to the closet and grabbed two towels before leading the younger man into the shower and underneath the spray. He quickly set to work washing Nick's hair and body before moving onto his own. Once they were both clean and pruney he turned off the water and stepped out. He quickly dried himself off and then grabbed the other towel to assist Nick. Finally, they were both clean and dry he pulled Nick out of the room and back to the bedroom. They fell into the bed, Nick curling his tired body around him instantly. He hadn't been laying there long when Kevin looked down and saw the soft rise and fall of his chest and knew his lover was finally asleep.

Kevin laid there in the quiet for a long period of time, his mind running a million miles a minute as he tried to think about everything they needed to do. First things first he needed to call Kristin and let her know what had happened. He would need to ask her to keep the boys for a few more days so he could help Nick pack up the apartment and make the trek from Nevada back to Kentucky. He supposed they needed to let the other guys know what was going on before news broke to the media. He did not want them finding out something this huge that way. There were funeral arrangements that needed to be made, he wasn't even sure where Nick's relationship with Lauren's family stood and if they would want him involved in it at all. Would the kids be expected to attend?

His head hurt from questions he didn't have the answers to and when he finally could allow himself to stop asking them, he was then hit with wave after wave of relief that nothing had happened to the kids and that their family was still intact. He knew Nick was hurting more than he would let himself admit. Kevin knew how he would feel if he ever lost Kristin and they were still friends. At the very least, Nick needed to spend some time with her family and go through the house to get anything he hadn't managed to get before they had come to Lexington the first time. Maybe they needed to rent a moving truck. He made a mental note to make some calls in the morning. He stretched so he could read the alarm clock, it was too late to make any calls tonight. He pulled the other man close and snuggled down into the blankets. As he fell into a restless sleep, he could only think of what it would be like when they finally got to go home.


Kevin woke up the next morning with Nick still wrapped around him in the same position he'd been in when he'd finally fallen asleep. He ran his fingers up and down Nick's back, delighting in the warm flesh beneath his fingers. He glanced at the window and could see it was still pretty dark outside. He hadn't really gotten off of Eastern time and even though he was tired he knew he wouldn't fall back asleep. He laid there for several more moments before the urge to lean over and kiss the other man senseless got to be too much. Knowing Nick needed as much sleep as possible, he carefully extracted himself and headed to the bathroom to relieve himself. After doing his business and washing his hands he came back into the bedroom to check on his lover. Nick had moved to the middle of the bed, sprawled out on the center. He looked like an angel Kevin thought. Kevin retrieved his phone from the nightstand and quietly slipped out of the bedroom. He walked down the hallway and quickly checked on the kids in the other room before making his way to the kitchen. Once he was alone in the room he quickly checked the time. Figuring Kristin was already awake he made the first of several calls.

It rang three times before she answered, rather breathless and he wondered if he'd caught her in the middle of something. "Kevin?"

"Hey Kris." Kevin said as he leaned against the counter.

"What's going on?" she asked almost instantly.

"How do you always do that?" Kevin said with a small smile.

"Because you didn't call last night, it's six o'clock in the morning and your voice has that pitch it always gets when something is seriously wrong. So what's happened?"

"I don't even know how to tell you. I'm hoping the more phone calls I make today the easier it will get to say and to understand. Lauren didn't meet us to trade off the kids yesterday. The mediator and a police officer had to go to the house to do a welfare check. When she didn't answer the officer broke in through the back door and went inside. He found her in the bathtub. They think it was a heroin overdose."

"Omg Kevin. Are the kids and Nick okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, everyone is okay. Well as much as they can be. We're just hanging in there. We had to take the kids to the emergency room to get checked out. When that was done we came home and crashed. I just woke up and you're the first person I called. They think the kids will be able to leave the state by the end of next week. Nick won't be able to get the kids home by himself. I wanted to see if you would be okay keeping the boys for a few more days so I can help him get everyone back home." Kevin said with a sigh.

"Oh of course Kev. Whatever I can do to help. You know I'm always here for both of you." She answered immediately.

"Thanks for that Kris. I'm sure over the next few weeks we might have to take you up on that."

They finished their conversation and said their goodbyes. When he was alone again in the kitchen he breathed a heavy sigh of relief, dropping his phone on the counter and running his hands over his tired face. He felt good knowing that one difficult conversation was done with and that Kristin was willing to handle the boys a little longer to allow Kevin and Nick time to tie up the last of the loose ends in Vegas before finally venturing home.

Home. Every time he thought of the word he felt his heart skip a beat. As tragic as all of this had been and would probably continue to be for all of them for the next little while, they were finally going to be able to go home.
Kevin opened the fridge and grabbed the orange juice before reaching into the cabinet to get a glass. As he reached for the top shelf he jumped slightly when he felt strong arms come down around his middle. Nick nuzzled into the back of Kevin’s neck and placed a kiss against the skin. “Hey baby.” Kevin said as he wrapped his arms around Nick’s. Nick laid his head on the back of Kevin’s shoulder and squeezed.

“The bed got cold without you.” he mumbled against Kevin’s hair.

“I’m sorry baby. I wanted to get started on making some phone calls.” Kevin leaned back into the embrace and sighed as Nick tightened his arms.

“Did you already call Kristin?” he asked.

Kevin nodded. “Yeah. She was the only one I’ve gotten to so far. She’s totally fine with keeping the boys. We’re not leaving here until we’re leaving here together.”

“I can’t wait.” Nick said softly.

“Are there things at the house you want to get? Should I try to call and rent a U-Haul or something?” Kevin questioned as he reached for another glass and poured them both juice.

“Nah. Everything there was pretty much hers. Anything of mine of any value is in the house in Marathon. I am not interested in going back there. I’m not even sure if I can handle walking through the house at all.” Nick said sadly.

Kevin turned in his arms and placed a kiss softly against his mouth before handing him the glass of juice. Nick squeezed him once more before releasing him and stepping back. They both drank their juice for a moment while Kevin debated on how to phrase his next question. “What about funeral arrangements?” he finally asked.

Nick shook his head. “There won’t be any. I had a text from her father this morning. He says they are going to have her cremated and they don’t want me involved in any type of service. They said a lot of really mean things, which I expected. They said her drug and alcohol problems were my fault, that my lifestyle, my job is what drove her to abuse and that it’s my fault she’s gone. I know it’s not true, but it still hurts. I don’t want to see them and I don’t want them anywhere around the kids. I just want to pack our stuff and wait impatiently for the paperwork to go though so we can go home.”

Kevin nodded and pulled him close. He put his juice down on the counter and wrapped Nick tightly in his arms and rested his chin on Nick’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go back to bed and I’ll call D and let them know what’s happened. I don’t want any of them finding something like this out on the morning news.”

‘Shit, I didn’t even think about it.” Nick said, his eyes wide.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll let Howie know what’s going on and then he can take it from there. You’ll have to release a statement, but I am pretty sure your management team can put something tasteful together for you just to sign off on. Once I talk to Howie I will call and let them know what’s going on. I’ll call the lawyer too. We might need him here to help push things along.” Kevin said as he pulled back.

“Kev, I can’t ask you to do all of this.” Nick started.

“Hush baby.” Kevin said as he brushed his lips across Nick’s mouth. “This is what I do best, handling shit like this. Let me take care of these things so you can be present with the kids. I don’t want you having to stress about anything else than you have to, okay?”

Nick nodded. “I love you. Thank you.”

Kevin smiled. “I love you too. Now get your cute ass back in bed before the kids wake up. These next few days are going to be insane and you’re going to need all the rest you can get.”

Nick smiled and grabbed his juice as he headed out of the room. Kevin poured himself a second glass and dropped down in the kitchen chair before picking up the phone and dialing the familiar number.

“Hey D. We need to talk.”


Three days later the official paperwork was delivered by courier. Nick had received a call from Heather that morning letting him know that everything had been filed and all they needed were signatures to get the papers submitted to the courts. If everything went according to plan, they would be free to leave the state on Friday. Nick had met the courier at the door and asked Kevin to keep an eye on the kids while he went through all of the paperwork alone in the bedroom. Kevin had agreed immediately and was now playing with dinosaurs and trucks with Odin and Saoirse while Nick locked himself in the bedroom with the forms.

He looked over them several times. He hadn’t been alone much since the whole ordeal had happened. Kevin kept him occupied, motivated and moving forward. Every time he felt like he was slipping he just had to remind himself that if he just kept pushing just a little harder that this would all be over and they could go home. He couldn’t wait. He knew he would have to deal with his feelings, his grief and his anxiety, but he didn’t think he could do any of those things until they were safely back in Kentucky.
He laid the forms out on the bed. There were several standard forms that required his signature, but the most important ones were buried at the bottom of the stack. A petition for adoption. He hadn’t spoken to Kevin about it before he had Heather draw up the papers, but knew without even having to ask that Kevin would be more than willing to sign them, overjoyed even.

He read through the form three times, his eyes always drifting to the bottom where Kevin would sign. It had his name printed in block letters. Petitioner name: Kevin Richardson. Relationship to Child: Father. There was a form for Odin and another form for Saoirse. He felt his heart skip a beat and his eyes fill with unshed tears every time he read the words.

He quickly signed all the non related forms and stuffed them back into the envelope. He gathered the adoption forms and made his way out of the bedroom and down the hall to the kids’ room. He pushed the door open slightly and felt his heart grow two sizes as his eyes fell on the sight in front of him. Saoirse was sitting on Kevin’s back where he lay on the floor while Odin was curled into his side looking at a picture book. Ever since they had brought the kids home, Odin hadn’t left Kevin’s side. They were stuck together like glue and in a strange way, Nick could understand completely why he didn’t want to let Kevin out of his sight. Nick felt the same way. There was something about knowing Kevin was right there that filled him with a deep aching sense of security and comfort that he had never experienced before, even before they got together. If he needed comfort of any kind, Kevin was the only one who could provide it. And now that same sense of belonging and comfort was the same for his son as well.

He walked further into the room and laid down on the floor beside Kevin. The older man turned and gave him a smile. “Get it all done?” he asked softly.

Nick smiled. “All but one form. I need your help with it. Do you mind taking a look?”

Kevin shook his head and held out his hand to take the form. Nick tried to keep the smile off his face as he slid the paper across the carpeted floor for Kevin to reach. He took it in his hand and started at the top of the first form. He hadn’t even made it completely to the bottom before his shoulders started to shake and the tears were streaming down his face.

“Nicky…” he managed to get out. “Are you sure?”

The tears were coming so fast that Kevin couldn’t keep them wiped away, especially while still keeping Saoirse on his back. Nick nodded. “I’ve never been more sure of anything.”

Kevin held out his hand and gestured for the pen Nick had brought in with him. Without skipping a beat he scribbled his name across the bottom of the form before lifting it and signing the form for Saoirse underneath. Once his name was written on both child’s adoption forms he slid them back over to Nick. “I don’t even know what to say.” Kevin said softly.

“Just say you love me, that you love us.” Nick said, fighting back tears of his own.

“It’s so easy to love somebody like you. I’ve known since you were 14 years old, there was just something about you that spoke to me and told me you would change my whole life. And it was right, not only have you changed it, but you’ve become the center of my universe and now our family can finally be complete.” He reached out and cupped Nick by the back of the head, pulling the younger man close enough to crash his lips down on him, taking him in a breathtaking kiss.

Nick had never felt happier, even in the midst of the sadness of the week and the trauma they had ensued. He knew that no matter what, as long as he had Kevin standing beside him at the end of the day that there was nothing they couldn’t handle together. They had reached the end of this journey and now there was nothing left standing in the way of them finally being together, exactly as it was meant to be.