I started watching New Girl and now I'm in love with Nick and Jess and I wrote a thing. I came across a fanfic challenge with 50 different phrases. Then you write a story that contains a phrase and do this 50 times. I am horrible at explaining this. Whatever. The phrase for this one was, "He fought for her, and he came out bruised and battered and broken and bloody, but victorious." And now to the story.
Nick Miller had never been much of a fighter. Well no, that wasn't entirely accurate. He loved to fight and yell and was often quite grumpy. But he also tended to go along with other, even if it wasn't always quietly. Though Winston and Schmidt would call him the glue they wouldn't call him a leader. He'd fight for something silly (like a parking spot) but he hated real conflict. He usually hid from it (sometimes simply by pulling his hood down over his face) or ignored it completely.
But this was Jess and he always fought for her. He fought for her, and he came out bruised and battered and broken and bloody, but victorious. And a lot of the fight was less physical but this night ended with him literally bruised and battered, broken and bloody. And indeed, it ended with him victorious.
The four of them were at the bar where he worked, he on one side, them on the other. He was making some ridiculous fruity drink for a girl (and couldn't help but remember that Jess drank simple rosé, which he'd heard Schmidt scoff at before but at least it was better than this absurd mixture of oversweet fruits and sugar) when he heard a sleazy sounding voice and an uncomfortable laugh. He handed the girl her drink, not noticing the shy look she gave him, and turned to see Jess looking up at a man who had his arm slung across her skinny shoulders. He hadn't heard what the man had said but he could tell by the tone, her reaction and the way Schmidt and Winston were looking at him, that it had been uncalled for and probably rather disgusting. She seemed to want to wriggle away but when she made a small move he subtly pulled her in tighter.
He strode over to them, already angry and fuming as he'd been in a bad mood to start with. He and Jess had gotten in a fight that afternoon and, though he couldn't remember what it was about or who was supposedly at fault, he was feeling pretty horrible about it. He didn't mean to get in those stupid yelling matches with her (and they were always about something stupid and pointless) but sometimes the only thing that got close enough to "I love you" was "go away". But the point was that Nick was in a bad mood and this guy had done the wrong thing at the wrong time.
He stalked over, planted his hands flat on the bar, and hopped over. In retrospect, he thought he probably should have practiced this before actually doing it at such a critical moment because the toe of his shoe caught and he hit the floor hard. But he leapt to his feet and hit the guy with a steely look, trying to ignore the heat in his cheeks.
"Hey! Do you have a problem? She obviously doesn't want to talk to you."
"Nick," Jess tried to whisper. It came out as more of a stage whisper. Quiet wasn't exactly her strong suit. "What're you doing?"
"Defending your honor," he said like some ridiculous knight in shining armor. His tone reflected sarcasm but it held a not of sincerity. If she said anything after that he didn't hear it because he was now realizing that this guy was about six inches taller than he was and 75 pounds heavier. Before he could think better of it or talk himself out of it (which is how he did most things) he pulled his right arm back and punched the guy in the jaw as hard as he could. Unfortunately, he was mostly unaware of how much punching someone could actually hurt. Surprised at this, he screamed and cradled his fist as Jess shrieked at the same time. The other man looked, on the whole, unhurt. At this point, Winston and Schmidt were flanking him, Schmidt mumbling something. Nick couldn't hear him but it sounded like he was hoping the guy wouldn't hit him in the face. Nick couldn't help but silently share the sentiment.
Nick and the man, whose name was actually Roger though none of them knew this, exchanged intense looks. Nick scrunched his face into an expression one might expect to find on an extremely fierce turtle. Winston took a step forward and spoke from the side of his mouth, his tone just above a whisper.
"I sure hope you know what you're doing."
But Nick ignored him—he had no idea what he was doing—and instead spoke to Roger. "Alright buddy you wanna do this, let's do this." He threw another punch that Roger made no move to stop. This one only hurt worse for his fist already having been injured and he grasped it again.
And then Roger took his moment and Nick didn't stand much of a chance.
The fight was over quickly. Nick sat on the floor, clutching his bruised ribs, his nose and a gash above his eyebrow bleeding quite freely, his lip broken open and swollen and the area around one eye darkening rapidly. Roger stood; his nose was also bleeding and he had a smaller cut on his cheekbone and a bruise on his jaw. Schmidt, Winston and Jess all knelt around Nick, the two guys were slightly roughed up as they'd jumped in as Nick went down. When he had assured them he was (mostly) okay, they stood to kick Roger out and left Nick and Jess along on the floor.
"Why did you do that?" she asked him, her voice sounding desperate and angry and slightly hysterical and her eyes bright as if she might cry.
He held his nose and had his head tilted back to stop the bleeding, causing his voice to sound nasally and strange, like he had a cold, but he kept his eyes on her. "He was an asshole, Jess. Why shouldn't I have done it?"
"Because he could have killed you, you idiot."
"Are you mad at me?" he asked, not expecting this to be her reaction at all. He hadn't expected her to swoon and fall in his arms or anything but anger was the total opposite of what he'd been anticipating. "He was being a jerk."
"He wasn't really hurting anyone..."
"Oh my god you're defending him? Are you kidding me, Jess?"
"Well he wasn't. Okay, he was being annoying and gross but you didn't have to try to beat him up for that. Nick, do you realize that I can't even take you to the hospital because, oh yeah, you don't have health insurance! You could have internal bleeding or whatever. You could die. You never think things through!"
"I know!" he shouted. "I'm poor and angry and impulsive."
She sighed but her next words were gentle. "Can you stand?" He stood slowly, groaning painfully as he got to his feet. When he stood, they had their arms awkwardly around each other, hers around his waist and his at her shoulders. They took a few steps and then they stopped. She looked up at him, their faces only a few inches apart.
"You okay?" she asked.
She remembered all that time ago, not very long after she'd moved in, sitting on her bed with Cece. And she'd said, "Don't you hear the way he says your name?" Her heart skittered and danced and leapt in her chest.
"What are you doing?" she asked. They both spoke quietly, only just able to hear each other over the din of the bar.
"You're wrong," he said. "I think things through way too much. But not anymore, Jess."
She noticed that he said her name a lot, said it when he had no real reason to, as if he simply liked to hear it, as if he loved the way it tasted on his tongue.
But she didn't get to finish her question as he kissed her fiercely and their lips crashed together in shared desperation. His hands slipped to the small of her back and he pulled her to him, bending her body to fit his and oh how perfectly she did fit. The pain in his hand was forgotten, the soreness of his ribs easily ignored. The ache in his swollen lip somehow only made each sensation more incredible. He was kissing Jess. The thought kept running through his head. He was kissing Jess. Jess. Kissing Jess. And she was kissing him back. Her fingers were pulling the hair at the back of his neck. Her tongue was doing things that plenty of other girl had done, as well, but had never affected him quite like it did now. She was making little noises like a kitten and he moaned softly into her waiting mouth as they floated on a cloud of shared air.
In the middle of the bar, crowded with the drunk and rowdy, they stood there, clutching one another as if they were drowning and the other were driftwood. And when they pulled away they breathed heavily as if they really had been tossed about in a violent sea. They looked at each other for moments that seemed to stretch into lifetimes and eventually they smiled and then laughed. And he kissed her again, softly, sweetly, in such a way that it made her heart ache. His hand was still on her lower back though his grip had loosened. He let go now to take her hand. As he did so, they heard a whoop and looked to the doorway to see Schmidt grinning.
"Oh no," Nick groaned, dropping his head so their foreheads were touching, but he was smiling.
"Come on," she said, grinning, "let's get you home."