Happy Enough by SLynn
Notes: Okay, this is weird. I've never never even considered writing a CSI fanfic. I love the show, but just never even thought about it. Until I started reading it myself and couldn't shake it. Maybe I've been preoccupied since I'm moving to Vegas in a month, I'm not sure. I have a co-worker who calls the songs that get stuck in your head over and over again earwigs, and that's what this idea was – an earwig. Not just the normal plot bunnies at work here. I literally almost couldn't sleep until I planned this out and I still don't know how long it's going to be. I hope it's good.
Revision Notes: I've completely re-read and hopefully fixed some of the more obvious errors in this story. Some wording changes were made but nothing affecting overall content was edited. The biggest addition is to the final chapter where a new paragraph was added, but again, it did not change the plot or ending in any shape. Thanks.
Summary: Greg's having a tough week.
Disclaimer: Any character you recognize, not mine.
Chapter 1: Short of Breath
Greg was enjoying the ride. It was a long way from the crime lab to the farmhouse where the crime had taken place and he was thankful for the reprieve.
Truth be told he was exhausted. It was his sixth night on in a row, his second double shift and he wasn't sure how much longer he could go without a break. Nick had been subtly hinting all night that he needed to speak up and tell Grissom that he needed some rest but there was no way Greg was going to. That sounded too much like admitting he couldn't do the job.
It was tough, he'd go out on cases and then it was straight back to the lab to find the results. He was positive everyone but maybe Nick was taking it for granted that he was in fact doing two jobs now. Maybe they just didn't realize it. Overworked and underpaid, a wining combination.
Not to mention his social life was practically dead. Okay, that wasn't true. He had a girlfriend for the moment, one he hadn't seen in two days because of his schedule. But Mandy and he were getting serious despite it. She even had a key to his place.
He smiled to himself as his head rested against the window.
"You okay?" Sara asked.
"Cat-nap," he answered. "Car rides do it to me every time."
'That and not actually sleeping', he added to himself.
"Well, time's up. We're here."
The SUV came to an abrupt stop. Greg and Sara got out of the car and cases in hand, found their way to Grissom and Nick.
"Good, you're here," Grissom said looking up at the two. "We've got two victims, husband and wife. We've already done a preliminary sweep of the house, but we need you two to check the barn. We haven't found the weapon yet but we think it was from the premises."
"Where's the barn?" Sara asked, professional as always.
"Over there," he said pointing to a building well behind the house that could only be described as a dilapidated. They quickly made their way.
"Cozy," Greg said with a smirk.
"I was thinking quaint," Sara said as they opened the doors. "And now I'm thinking filthy."
Greg coughed a few times and waved a hand in front of his face.
"Alright?" she asked with mild concern.
"Yeah, dust and I are not the best of friends."
"Wear a mask then," she said digging one out of her case for both of them.
For half a second Greg contemplated not putting it on, it didn't seem very manly, but another small series of coughs changed his mind.
"You start over there. Don't pick up any thing that might be evidence. Just observe, photograph and lift prints if necessary," Sara instructed. "I'll take this end.
Greg nodded, not sure what he was looking for, or how he'd find it in this mess. It obviously hadn't been used in years and it was probably a waste of time looking here. Still he managed to find his way to the tool rack and mentally noted that they at least were partially dust free. That and one was missing.
He snapped off a few quick photos and leaned in closer for a better look. Maybe the perp had grabbed something from here as the weapon. Even better, he thought as he spotted what looked like a small drop of blood, maybe he cut himself first.
Taking a few more pictures, he left a marker and slowly moved on. That's when he first noticed. Greg's chest and back felt tight. It was probably nothing, but he couldn't just shrug it off. As his chest felt more and more constricted, he began to slightly panic and pant.
He couldn't breath.
Greg quickly dropped his case and threw it open frantically looking for what he needed. He felt his pulse racing and he knew he had to calm down. He needed to take slow, deep breaths and just relax, but the realization that he'd left what he needed in his lab coat pocket didn't help.
He had to get out of here.
"Greg?" Sara called out. She'd heard him drop the box and it hadn't sound accidental. Stepping out of the stables she'd been searching and onto the main floor, she saw him hastily heading out the door.
Greg had heard her call his name but hadn't stopped. He had to get out of there. Quick. As soon as he got outside he ripped off the mask and threw it down, hands on knees and bent at the waist he began coughing and gasping.
Greg had been an asthmatic since he was a teenager. He was only mildly allergic to dust mites and cat dander but they had triggered attacks before. With Allegra he hardly even needed his inhaler but knew he should still carry it. And normally he did. Greg felt immensely stupid for leaving it at the lab tonight.
This however, had never happened before; not this quick and not this strong.
"Greg?" Sara said beside him now, surprise and concern in her eyes, "Are you okay?"
He couldn't answer. Not yet and was surprised to feel himself sway into her, nearly knocking the two of them down. Instead of falling she eased him to the ground as he continued to gasp and wheeze.
"Do you have anything for this?" she asked.
"Lab…" he said as he shook his head no, "…left…at….lab."
Sara hesitated for a second. She probably shouldn't leave him like this, but he needed help. Holding her flashlight up to get a better look at his face, she made up her mind at the blue-tint his lips had begun to take.
"Stay here," she said firmly as she took off towards the house as fast as possible.
He'd laugh if he could at that last statement, because really, where was he going. Instead he pulled off his jacket and tried to slow his breathing like he'd been taught.
A few minutes brought Nick out of the house and leaning down to him.
"Brass has got paramedics coming," he said scanning Greg's face.
"You're going to the hospital man," Nick cut in. "You look terrible."
Greg let out a snort of a laugh which was then followed by a fresh bout of coughs.
"Sorry," Nick said frowning at his friend.
Greg waved him off and tried taking slow deep breaths again.
"Do you want to lay back or something? Should you be inside?"
"No… sitting… better," Greg managed between intakes of air. "Cold….helps."
"Stop asking him questions that he can't answer with a nod," came a voice from a short distance away. It was Grissom. "He needs to save his breath."
Nick looked a bit chagrinned, he hadn't thought of that. Obviously Greg needed to focus on breathing.
"Feeling better?" he asked, kneeling next to Nick to get a better look at Greg.
Greg nodded yes, even though he wasn't sure how true that was. Nick and Sara asking him that was okay. He knew they were concerned. Grissom asking felt a little bit more like an interrogation.
"Shouldn't be long just hang in there," he said as he stood up and left.
At a loss of what to do now, Nick began to relate the current status of the case to him. Greg appreciated it more then he could say, literally. His chest still felt like it was on fire, it was that tight. Listening to the case history helped him at least not think about it so much.
Turns out Grissom was right, Nick hadn't even finished telling him everything when they saw the paramedics headed for them. To Greg's great surprise they had a gurney.
He was already shaking his head no before they could even ask. He wasn't getting on it. No way.
"I…can…walk," was what he said to the nearest one before they even tried to get him to it.
The guy gave a bit of a smirk to his co-worker, like they'd had a bet on it, but Greg was serious. So serious he nearly fell over trying to stand up and prove it.
"Whoa," Nick said jumping to his feet and helping steady him. "If you want to walk at least let us help you."
"Listen," the first paramedic said as if addressing a child, "you really should just let us push you back."
Greg ignored them and started slowly heading back towards the front of the house, Nick helping him along. Yes, he knew that he wasn't endearing himself any to the two guys who were there to save his life, but he didn't care. He wasn't riding on the gurney.
The three minute walk took nearly fifteen. The two paramedics trailed them the whole way, alternating between exasperated sighs and 'tsks'. Nick said nothing, just let Greg lean on him when he needed to and stopped when Greg did. Greg had never been more grateful to anyone then he felt at that moment.
The last twenty feet were the worst. He realized at this point Nick was supporting almost his entire weight. Despite the cold he was actually sweating as he sat down inside the ambulance.
Sara was livid.
"You let him walk?" she asked accosting Nick the moment he'd stepped away from Greg. "What were you thinking? Look at him."
Greg wanted to say something to this, but he was in the process of being hooked up to the oxygen tank as the paramedic prepared the metered-dosed inhaler for him.
"Sara," Nick said tactfully as he could, trying to pull her out of Greg's earshot but not succeeding. "He's a grown man alright. He didn't want to be pushed back here like that. It was his decision."
Sara gave him a look that clearly spoke her opinion, but dropped the matter.
"Okay, were ready to go," the first paramedic said. "Anyone else coming?"
"I'll follow in the SUV," Nick said. "You heading to UMC?"
The second paramedic nodded.
"Greg," Nick said catching his attention, "I'll see you there."
Greg nodded, again grateful to have him as a friend. The back doors shut and they were on their way.