Only Human

Author's Note: Damion Starr makes her glorious return to the Nick/Greg fold! Takes place after "No Humans Involved". Established relationship and, of course, slash.

Disclaimer: CSI is not mine.

Nick Stokes was immediately awake when he heard the front door open and close. He rolled over onto his back in the middle of the king-sized bed and stared into the darkness, silently counting the minutes. But the door to his black bedroom did not open, revealing Greg Sanders' slim silhouette against the hallway light. Finally, Nick climbed out of the warm, but wholly empty, bed.

Nick found Greg sitting at the kitchen table, his forehead in his hand and his whole body trembling. "Greg?" The younger man jumped and looked up, making the tears pooling in his dark eyes sparkle.

"Hey," Sanders smiled shakily. "Sorry, did I wake you?"

"No," Nick lied. "Are you okay?" The CSI carefully set a hand on the CSI-in-training's shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Greg replied unconvincingly. He smiled, briefly, then dropped his eyes to the table.

"Greg-" Nick gently admonished.

"I'm fine." Greg snapped, then jumped to his feet. Nick moved to block him, carefully gripping the smaller man's arms.

"Greg," He said quietly. When Greg refused to look at him, Nick softly touched his chin and tilted his painfully young face toward him. "You're not okay." He whispered.

Greg stared defiantly at him for a moment, then his face crumpled and tears spilled over onto his cheeks. He only allowed himself to utter a single sob, though, clinging stubbornly to his strength. Nick cupped his flawless face in his hands and tenderly kissed him, choking back tears of his own.

Nick's comforting lips caressed Greg's cheeks, nose, forehead, anywhere the CSI could reach, always returning to the former DNA tech's trembling mouth. Greg gave in to his lover's embrace, reaching up to clutch at the sides of Nick's shirt. Stokes wrapped an arm around the lithe body under his touch, pulling Greg to him. The younger man melted against Nick. His sobs were muffled by the mouth fitted against his own. Nick freed his lips and kissed a trail down his jaw, then just hugged him to his heart. Greg buried his face in Nick's chest and cried; hard. Nick held him, rubbing his back in soothing circles and whispering softly in his ear.

It was a long time before Greg finally fell quiet, but even then, Nick just held him. He did not ask about what had happened, even though he knew from Grissom. He knew from experience that Greg would tell him later, when he was ready. Until then, Nick was happy to let him know; through actions, not words, that it was okay to be shaken and afraid. After all, he was only human.

The End