Disclaimer: I own no one and nothing, although I'd takefree samples if they're being offered.
Author's Notes: Before I start, I want to say that this will more likely than not be a Nick and Sara story, with a Greg and Sara friendship. What can I say, my two favorite guys, and my favorite girl...it's hard to choose. But if I continue with that direction for this story, I've got another planned where the men and their roles are opposite, involving a very difficult murder case. Anyway, that is also being written, and will be posted as soon as this one is complete.
-Bugs 'N' Suds-
Sara coughed loudly, her hand balled into a fist, covering her mouth, as she grimaced. What an awful time to be coming down with something, just as she was making headway on her biggest case of the year.
Her throat had been scratchy since the night before, but now it was raw and sore from her coughing, and the mere act of swallowing was creating the most unpleasant churning sensation in her stomach, spots dancing before her eyes. She hadn't been this tired since she last pulled a triple. Coughing again, she braced her body and willed herself not to vomit on the evidence. She needed some time off, only if she could crack this case.
"I brought you some water." Greg said, placing the bottle down gently on the table, "And some cold medicine."
Sara didn't want to waste the little of the energy she had left by looking up, so she hoarsely mumbled a quick "thanks" before yawning and getting back to work. Only if yawning didn't make her throat hurt even worse...
"You should go home and get some rest." Greg tried again, knowing his attempts would be futile. Reasoning with Sara was like trying to convince Grissom that Marilyn Manson was cool, it wasn't something that went over very well. "You look awful."
"I feel awful." Sara croaked in admittance, "But I'm so close, I know I am." She cleared her throat, hoping it would dull the ache, but realizing that it may never happen. Maybe she was destined to die a slow, painful death by the flu.
Greg sat down next to Sara, looking at her closely, "Seriously Sara, you look like crap. You need to see a doctor."
"It's just a cold, at worst, the flu. As soon as I nail this guy, I'll go home and take off however long I need to recuperate. Until then, I've got a case to solve." Sara insisted, coughing again more violently and gagging on some mucus that had gotten dislodged from her throat.
Greg raised her eyebrows, offering Sara the water once more, "You're really sick, just go home already." He smirked, "Unless you want me to go home with you, I can play doctor and"
"Shut up Greg." Sara moaned, her voice hoarse, "Since you're obviously not doing anything, could you get me a soda?"
Greg shook his head, "No way, juice and water heal the body, not over-sugared, over-caffeinated, liquid poison."
"You like soda almost as much as you like your coffee, don't give me that bull." Sara muttered, "I'm almost done for the night, I swear."
Greg pulled the folder towards him, "Is this the double homicide?"
"Officer McDonald's daughter and son-in-law." Sara replied, "Both were found bound and gagged, full of bullet holes. The daughter, Mara, was shot 19 times, the son-in-law, Chris, was shot 23. No hairs, no fibers, no prints, nothing. If I don't find something to go off of, it's going to be unsolved, and I refuse to let that happen." She looked like she wanted to say more, but was overcome with another coughing fit.
Greg pulled her to her feet, practically dragging her to the door, "You're going home Sara, you won't be any good to the case if you hack up a lung on the evidence."
Greg, expecting a rude or sarcastic comeback, was surprised when Sara was silent. He turned to look at her, and as he did, she fell unconscious in his arms.
"Woah, is she alright?" Nick asked, rushing down the hall, where he had just exited the men's room, "Sara?"
Greg laid Sara on the floor, tapping her cheeks gently, "Sara? Oh my God, this isn't funny, Sara!"
Sara's eyes fluttered, and she started to cough once more, rising into a sitting position with her hand over her chest, one hand covering her mouth as she irritated the already sore muscles of her body, "What...?"
"Sara, are you okay? Do you want one of us to bring you home?" Nick asked worriedly, putting a hand on her arm, "You look terrible Sar, what are you even doing here?"
Greg smirked, "I've been asking her that all night." He placed a hand on Sara's forehead, "You're burning up, I'm going to drive you home."
"I've got to finish my case." Sara moaned, coughing again, pulling herself to her feet, "I'll be okay."
Nick shook his head, "I don't think so. Greg can sort through your case, I'll drive you home, I was leaving anyway."
"Does Cath know you're pulling triples now?" Greg asked, his eyebrow raised, "I didn't expect to see you still here."
"I didn't expect to see the two of you either." Nick replied, "I guess it's a good thing though."
Nick took Sara's arm in his hand, "Come on, let's get you heavily medicated and into bed."
"I've always wanted to do that." Greg said with a sly smile, "Sure you don't want to work on her case, Nicky, and then I can drug her and take her to bed?"
Sara shook her head tiredly, "Greg, not tonight."
"So are you saying that one night you'll let me?" Greg asked as the other two walked away, "I'll call you!" He shouted once they were almost out of hearing distance.
The drive to Sara's apartment with filled with tense silence. Nick stole a glance at Sara, noticing how pale and thin she had gotten since the team had been split up. He suddenly realized how little time they'd spent together since being separated, he didn't know the first thing about Sara's current life, only what he had heard through the grapevine, and the griping Catherine had done after their blowup a few weeks earlier. He saw how easily she and Greg interacted, and he couldn't help but feel jealous, he used to be her best friend, what had happened?
"Sara, I'm sorry we haven't gotten a chance to do anything together lately." Nick said softly, "I miss you."
"It's hard to schedule social gatherings when we work such strange hours." Sara replied, "It's not your fault, it's Ecklie's. But I do miss you too. You and Warrick, and hell, sometimes even Catherine."
"How's it going with Sophia?" Nick asked, unsure if Sophia was a safe topic to discuss with Sara, "Is she working out?"
Sara nodded, replying sadly after a sneeze, "She's brilliant, she can do no wrong...at least according to Grissom...to him, she's perfect."
"We used to say the same about you when you first arrived." Nick reminded her, "No one's perfect, and although he doesn't call her on her faults, it doesn't mean he doesn't see them."
"He took her out to dinner." Sara replied, the hurt evident in his voice, "He spent hours with me after my fight with Catherine, talking to me, renewing the friendship we lost years ago, and then he turns around and takes Sophia out to dinner. He's taken out you and Warrick, Catherine, now Sophia, but never once me." She sighed tiredly, "I just don't have the energy to care anymore."
Nick watched her lean her head against the window, "I'm sure it was just an oversight on his part, not taking you out. Surely you don't think he's in a relationship with her?"
Sara coughed several times, the pain in her chest radiating from as low as her stomach to the top of her head, wheezing for breath until she was sure she was about to pass out.
"Maybe I should take you to the hospital, that sounds really bad." Nick said softly, his voice etched with concern, "How long have you been sick?"
Sara shut her eyes, a chill running through her body, "I'm okay Nicky, it's just the flu, I'll be fine in a few days. I just want to go home, soak in a nice, warm bath, and sleep for...oh, a year or so." She sniffled, fishing in her pocket for a tissue before sneezing three more times. "Can we stop by the drugstore? I need some more cold medicine."
"No problem." Nick replied, "Anything you want."
An hour later, they were pulling into Sara's apartment complex, Nick's features still etched with worry as he eyed Sara sleeping with her head pressed against the window, her breathing still shallow, even in sleep.
He unfastened her seatbelt, leaning over and brushing his hand against her arm softly, "Sara? Sar?"
Sara's eyes weakly fluttered open, and she turned to Nick in shock, "I fell asleep?"
He nodded with a soft smile, "You're home now, I'm going to walk you upstairs."
He walked around to her side of the car, opening the door and taking her by the hand, and then by the waist, as she swayed in his grasp. "Woah, I guess I wasn't ready to get up yet." she whispered, half-joking, leaning her head against his arm. Oh, how nice it felt to lay her head against something. Pillows would be heavenly.
They had almost made it to the door when she started to cough again, doubling over and trying to catch a breath, her face turning bright red from lack of oxygen. Seconds later, coughing turned into gagging, and seconds after that, she had gotten sick on the concrete, barely being held up by Nick, spots dancing in front of her eyes as she moaned weakly.
"Let's get you upstairs and into bed, you're a mess." Nick said softly, debating on whether or not to just pick her up and carry her into her apartment, since he was practically carrying her as it was. "Jesus, Sar, you're burning up. You need to see a doctor."
She looked up at Nick, her vision blurry as she tried to stay coherent and convince her body to move as she wanted it to. "Nicky?"
"Yes, sweetheart?" Nick replied, not thinking twice about using the endearing term.
Sara giggled, "You called me sweetheart." Her speech slurred from a mixture of fatigue and strong medicine, "You're very cute, Nicky."
"So are you, even if your nose is a little drippy." Nick replied, taking her keys out of her hand and opening the door, "And even if you got a little bit of puke on my shoes."
Sara, even though she was very disoriented, turned a deep shade of pink with embarrassment, "Sorry." She mumbled, stumbling to the couch and collapsing on it, leaning her head on the side arm. "I'll buy you a new pair."
"I'm a country boy, I can wash them." Nick replied, "You need to be in bed. I'll bring you a glass of juice and some Tylenol, you put your pajamas on. I'll get you set up here, then I'll head home. I'll stop by before I go in tonight, though."
Sara nodded, her head feeling like it was full of lead, and she stumbled into her bedroom, barely able to focus enough to get her pajamas on, falling onto the bed and not even bothering to get under the covers. Before Nick came into her room, she was already asleep.
Nick placed the juice and Tylenol on her bedside table, along with the bottle of cold medicine they had bought earlier at the drug store. He found a light blanket at the end of her bed, and he covered her with it, placing his hand on her forehead to make sure she wasn't too warm, deciding to go ahead and let her sleep. He scribbled her a quick note, leaving it with the medications. He was about to leave, when he remembered her earlier episode outside, and grabbed the plastic trash can from her bathroom and placed it next to her bed, just in case. Sure that all of the bases were covered, he grabbed his jacket and let himself out the front door.
He returned at 3:00 that afternoon, letting himself in with the spare key she had given him when she had taken leave after the DUI incident. He had watered her plant while she had gone back to San Francisco, and had never remembered to give her back her key. He wasn't too surprised to see that her bedroom door was still halfway open, as he had left it, nothing else touched in the apartment. She probably hadn't even woke up since he left that morning.
He quietly walked into her bedroom, not wanting to disturb her, and groaned at what he saw. This must be how it felt to have a child. She had gotten sick while sleeping, and from her position, it was clear she hadn't stirred since he had left. He pulled back the blanket he had covered her with, tossing it into the clothes hamper, and then walked over to the side of her bed, sitting down and shaking her shoulder gently, "Sara? Sweetie, wake up."
Sara moaned softly, but she was still deeply asleep. He brushed his hand against her forehead, frowning at how much warmer she was now, as compared to earlier, and he shook her shoulder again, "Sara, come on darlin', open your eyes."
Sara's eyes fluttered open, and she sharply inhaled as the sunlight in the room stung her eyes, "Nick?"
She looked around, her face growing red with embarrassment again, "Please tell me I didn't. God, how old am I? Four?"
"It's okay." Nick soothed, "Let's get you changed out of those clothes, and I'll remake your bed for you. Do you want some water or anything?"
Sara sleepily nodded, swaying the moment she rose to her feet. Nick grabbed her arm to steady her, and her eyes began to roll back slightly, causing him to push her back down where she had been laying, "Lay down and don't pass out. I'll get you some new pajamas. Where do I look?"
"Second drawer from the top, left side." Sara moaned miserably, "My head hurts. Ugh, my stomach hurts."
Nick glanced back at her pale face, "Are you going to puke again?"
"God, I hope not." Sara replied, making a face, "I don't think so. But let's not even mention the word, just to be safe."
"Aw, our little Sara's squeamish all of a sudden." Nick replied with a smirk, carrying a pair of red drawstring pants and a matching tank top to the bed, "Do you need help?"
"You just want to see me naked. And here I was thinking Greg was the pervert." Sara teased, her words slurring slightly, although she was trying to remain upbeat. She was embarrassed that Nick, anyone actually, had seen her like this, and even more embarrassed that she had thrown up, more than once, and he had been left taking care of her. She never got sick, she couldn't fathom why this was happening to her now. All she wanted to do was bury herself under her comforter and hide for years, until they both forgot this day.
Nick rolled his eyes, helping her sit and sliding her shirt over her head, "You don't look like you can even sit on your own, much less strip. I promise I won't look too hard, though, okay?"
"Yeah, right. Take advantage of a sick girl, why don't you?" Sara muttered, shivering as he helped her slide her pants off, "I'm so cold."
Nick placed his hand on her forehead, "You're still running a fever, let me get your bed remade, and I'll get you a warm blanket, okay?"
"I'm going to be sick." Sara muttered in response, scrambling off of the bed with more energy than she had shown since he arrived, barely making it to the bathroom before being violently sick, collapsing to her knees and trying to stop the dizziness that was overpowering her.
Nick put fresh sheets on Sara's bed, poured her a glass of water, then walked into the bathroom, wetting a rag and pressing it against Sara's forehead, "You don't look so good."
"Gee, and I thought you were supposed to be the sensitive one." Sara muttered, angry with herself for being so weak. She started to gag again, and she forced herself not to throw up. She wasn't going to embarrass herself again in front of Nick. Rubbing her face with her hands, she let out an irritated sigh. She hated being sick, from the headache to the nausea, it was the worst experience of her life.
Nick pulled her to her feet after she announced that she wanted to go back to bed, and he slowly led her to her bedroom, covering her up with a sheet and quilt, "I was going to put the down comforter on the bed, but I thought it would be too warm."
"I'm cold." Sara replied sleepily, "No such thing as too warm."
Nick handed her a glass of water and the Tylenol, "You're running a fever. Do you think you could keep this down?"
Sara nodded, swallowing the pills before letting her head fall back to the pillow, already asleep before he could pull the blanket around her. Grabbing his cell phone, he dialed Catherine's cell number.
"Cath, it's Nick." Nick began, but was cut off by Catherine's angry voice, "Do you know what time it is? We were supposed to have a team meeting this afternoon at 3:30, and it's already after 4. You do remember that you are supposed to be in at 4, every day, right?"
"I'm sorry Cath." Nick apologized, shutting Sara's door as he walked into the living room, "I'm at Sara's, she's really sick, and I got caught up over here."
"That's not a good excuse." Catherine snapped, still upset from her confrontation with the younger woman a few weeks back, "Sara's a big girl, she can fend for herself. We've got a stack of cases, and there's only 3 of us, so we need to get cracking. I expect to see you in 15 minutes."
"Cath-" Nick started, but only to be interrupted by Catherine again, "I know I sound like a bitch, but Ecklie's on my ass, and we need to get our jobs done, before we don't have a job to do. Sara will be fine for a few hours on her own, blame it on me, make me the bitch, but get in here, now."
With an angry sigh, Nick pressed the 'end' button, dialing another number. "Hey, Greg, it's Nick. Can you come by Sara's and stay with her, in case she needs anything? She's not doing too good, and I need to get in before Catherine catches a heart attack."