Nick noticed Jessica flailing around for some reason. He shrugged it off and after a moment she looked up at him. He smiled warmly.
"Of course! I'll make sure you stay safe," he answered in his normal, bouncy, pre-island voice. He looked at Teo and nodded in agreement. He put his hand up to his lips and lightly tapped his mouth. It was a little nervous gesture.
"Yes. We should go down to the town area on the map. There aren't many people left around and a solid house would make a good base. We could all probably use with a proper place to crash and we're running low on supplies," he recounted, mostly for his own benefit.
"We've been doing pretty well on supplies what with the augmentations......"
He got awkward and stopped a moment.
"Uh. And the stuff we had already. It......we, we've managed alright since we've only had three this whole time. When we picked up Jessica we...."
Another moment of uncomfortable realization hit. Gracie was dead. He was still sad over that. They'd lost a good ally. Her killer was dead and gone too, though, so there was no epic revenge to be gained. It felt empty and hollow to let it go like that. To let her
go like that.
"Hu? Oh right, supplies. Well, there might still be something in the town we can scavenge. Canned goods or something. Water, maybe. Seems like that's where we're headed next."
He lifted his bag onto his shoulder and held the katana with his right hand and with his left, he took Jessica's hand. The feeling would reassure him that she was there. It would keep her from running from him.
She made him feel a little calmer. Her presence hearkened him back to St. Paul. Jessica was dirty and grungy now, but underneath it he could still smell just a touch of the shampoo she used. Her hand was warm. His huge hands covered part of her wrist and he could feel her blood push gently against him.
He was lulled for a moment. Then a wash of different feelings hit. Suspicion, love and strangely, jealousy.
Inside this button-nosed package was home. She reminded him of everything that home was. So the question could be asked; is it Jessica that Nick is so absolutely devoted to, or what she represents to him? Of course, he'll never think to ask himself this question. Nick is currently preoccupied with figuring out the number of supplies to days remaining. He's trying to calculate exactly how many people are left yet to fight.
It's probably for the best if just he continues his calculations and holds on tight to the girl's hand as they walk back out into the world.
((Nick LeMonde continued The City on the Edge of Forever