Author's Note: This is just a little missing scene for Nesting Dolls, that doesn't really resolve anything at all. And just so no one is mislead by the summary, this isn't Grissom/Sara, it's Gen, focused on Nick and Sara's friendship.

Self destructive, that's what she had called it, when Grissom had asked, and he had said it was a rationalization. She poured out her heart and he saw rationalizations and she couldn't really blame him because he was right--that's what she did. She rationalized.

So she told him what she was trying to cover with her rationalizations, her misdirections, and she'd told him the reasons why those cases did this to her. And she realized something; it hadn't helped talking about it, not like they always said it would on television and in airport novels. She was still self destructive, and he could call it a rationalization if he wanted but it was the truth.

Maybe she was hiding behind bluntness, pointing out the worst in her before someone could do it for her, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. Grissom had said he wasn't going to fire her, he had gone to talk with Ecklie, but she wasn't holding out much hope, and she wasn't even sure, really, how much she wanted to keep doing this job.

She didn't like who she was anymore, not when she got so wrapped up in a case that she couldn't see anything else. Not when she started screaming at the people that were the closest things she had to friends, and she couldn't even seem to find it in herself to regret it.

When her doorbell rang she thought it was Grissom, come back to tell her that Ecklie wouldn't let her stay on. But it wasn't.

"Hey, Sara." Nick smiled at her, sadly, his eyes unable to meet hers.

She leaned in the doorway. She didn't get to see him nearly as much as she used to, or, she could admit to herself, as much as she'd like. Nick had always served as a calming force in her life, and like everything eventually was, it had been ripped away. "Hey," she said, moving aside so he could come in.

He walked in slowly, stopping in the middle of the room to turn and look at her. "I heard what happened," he said, but he might as well not have bothered, because she knew that was the only thing that would have brought him here. They didn't do things together outside of work anymore, and she wasn't sure if it was because of the shift change or something else entirely.

"I figured," she said, keeping her voice neutral. "I bet everyone knows by now. I'm sure Catherine is telling anyone who'll listen."

"That isn't fair," Nick said, but his voice was more resigned than angry. "Greg told me. I don't know where he heard but I can tell you this, it's not from Catherine. She's more professional than that, more professional than you've ever given her credit for."

It stung, and she ripped her eyes from him. She'd always seen Nick as something of a last ally, and though she wasn't sure she was on the right side this time, part of her had hoped he would not be against her.

"Greg is upset," Nick went on, the resignation bleeding slowly from his voice and leaving only quiet concern. "He's worried about you. We all are."

"Really?" she asked, harsher than she'd meant. "You're not just here to yell at me for insulting your new boss?"

Nick turned away from her, pushing a hand through his hair, as though he'd forgotten he'd cut it too short to run through his fingers anymore. "You make it really hard to be supportive, Sara, you know that?"

"Is that what this is?" she demanded. "Support?"

He laughed, but it was bitter, not like she was used to hearing. "Yeah, Sara, it is. I came here because I was worried about you, because you're doing it again, sabotaging yourself, and I'm worried it isn't going to just go away this time."

She didn't think it would, either, but she wasn't as worried about it as he seemed to be. "I'm fine," she said, shooting him a tight smile. "You can leave now, Nick, guilt free, because you've checked up on the resident head case of the lab and she's fine."

Nick winced at her tone, and she felt a small burst of triumph. He thought he could, but she intended to prove to him eventually, he couldn't fix her. He'd stop trying soon enough, though she was mildly concerned she really would have nothing left when he did.

"We all have problems, Sara," Nick said softly. "We all have cases that hit too close to home. I know what's it like--"

She glared at him--she couldn't believe she was hearing that from him, of all people. "What do you know?" Sara yelled. "You had a perfect life, Nick, a perfect childhood, and you turned out goddamned perfect, so tell me, exactly how do you know how I feel?"

Nick froze, and he plastered a smile on his face as he looked back up at her. "You're right, you're absolutely right, Sara. What the hell do I know?" He started past her, and Sara watched him, the anger leaving her--fear taking hold in its place. "I don't know why I came here, I really don't--I don't know why I keep trying to be your friend when you so obviously don't want me to be."

He was leaving, she thought distantly, he was going to walk out and she was probably going to get fired, and she was suddenly terrified she would never see him again. She cut him off, displaying more energy than she'd felt in weeks, and slid past Nick to block his way--planting herself in front of the door. He sighed and wouldn't meet her eyes, his jacket dangling from his hands. "I have to go, Sara, my shift starts in an hour."

"I'm sorry," she blurted. "I didn't mean any of that. You're right, I don't know." He still wouldn't meet her eyes, but he wasn't pushing past her, either, and she took that as a good sign. "It does matter to me that you came here, Nick," she said. "We are friends." He was the closest one she had, in any case.

He let himself fall back against her wall, his head tilting up, still looking anywhere but at her. "Things have happened to me too, Sara, whatever you think, and I may not know what happened to you, but you shouldn't just assume there's no one that could ever relate. Horrible things happen to people everyday." He paused, lowering his eyes to the ground. "No one knows that better than us."

She didn't speak, she just stood rooted in the doorway, still determined to keep him from leaving despite that he had stopped trying to.

"Whatever happened to you," he continued, "you're not alone in it. You don't have to be alone."

But alone was safe, she thought. Alone kept people from hurting her, even if it couldn't stop her from hurting herself.

He checked his watch, as though he was looking for a reason to leave, and she tensed from her post against the door. She couldn't let him just walk away, not until she'd thought of something, anything, to say. "Thank you," was the best she could come up with, and the words hung in the air, out of context and out of place.

He glanced at her, confusion clouding his eyes. "For what?"

"For everything," she said, and she meant it. For smiling at her and turning up the charm the day they'd met, like she was someone that mattered, like she was worth his time. For always helping her even when she didn't want him too.

He gave another smile, sad; like the one he'd given her as he stood on her doorstep moments before, looking like he didn't know how he had ended up where he was. "Yeah, well, what are friends for?"

"I mean it, Nick," she said, tightly. "I never said it before, but I mean it."

He looked nervous now, as though something about what she was saying scared him. "Hey, you act like we're never going to see each other again," he whispered.

That was because she was inexplicably afraid they wouldn't. She felt like time was slipping between her fingers, quickly running out. "I just thought you should know," she said. "And you can tell Greg I'm fine, really. Grissom is going to do his best to keep me employed."

Nick smiled wryly, and carefully took her arm to pull her away from the door. "He's not the only one. We don't give up easily, Sara, and we're not giving up on you," he said, and opened the door. He stepped outside, sunlight streamed in from around him, and she caught the image in her mind—held on to it.

Neither of them bothered to say goodbye, they usually didn't--so she just placed her palm against the cool handle of the door, and pushed until it clicked closed.

The End.