Over My Dead Body

Part III

Author's Note: I originally was going to leave the first part as a single, stand-alone piece. Then I was inspired to write more by Catherine4 (Thanks!). I was thinking of making it a three-part piece with this as the last piece but I couldn't find it in me to write the second part. I still may; I'm not sure. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this part as much as the first.

There was a window in the door to Nick's hospital room. I peered through it to get a look at Nick before entering. I had found it easier to get over the initial shock of the person's condition while still in the hallway. Easier for them and easier for me.

Seeing nothing shocking, I pushed the door open and entered the room.

Walking softly toward his bed, I tried to distinguish if he was asleep. His face was turned away from me, looking out the window.

"Hey," I called softly. He turned his head to see me and a smile started to form on his face.

"Hey," he returned. I took that as a good sign. The fear of him falling into depression melted away.

I tried to analyze him to determine his state of mind. An experience like his could leave anyone mentally scarred for life. I didn't want to see my friend injured in any way; physically, mentally, or emotionally.

I gave him a smile and sat in the chair beside his bed.

"So..." I began, taking my time to ask the question that I had anxiously been waiting for the answer to. "How are you?" I tried to ask as gently as possible. I knew he'd been asked that question a lot lately. I didn't want a stock answer. I wanted him to be honest with me. I thought that we were good enough friends to be open with each other. I gave him a look to suggest my thoughts and encourage him to really mean what he was about to tell me.

More than anything, I wanted the truth. Only with the truth could I help him heal to the best of my ability. If he was suffering, I wanted to know. If he was okay, I wanted to know that too. Either way I wasn't afraid. I was more afraid of a lie than the truth because at least the truth could be dealt with.

"Not great," he finally admitted. "I still have some things to work through." I must have had a pained expression on my face because a look of concern dominated his features. He reached out and took my hand. I was surprised by his actions and the sincere look in his eyes shocked me further.

"I'm going to be okay," he assured me. "It's going to take some time but I'll be alright. Don't worry about me, okay?" I nodded my head. I was speechless. I knew I had just received exactly what I had wanted; an honest answer.

He squeezed my hand and repeated, "Okay?"

"Okay," I whispered. He smiled at me and I couldn't help but smile back.

We stayed like that for a moment, each of us pondering what we had come so close to losing. The feeling of coming so close and yet finishing victorious was amazing. My brain still couldn't completely accept what had happened. My emotions had been running rampant throughout the entire ordeal and they were still overloaded. Eventually I'd be emotionally drained but that hadn't happened yet. I reveled in my joy; my happiness for the life of my friend.

"I brought something for you," I told him when the moment had passed. I handed him a wrapped gift, which he opened quickly.

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle." He read the title of the book I had given him aloud.

"Would you believe there was a time when they didn't use forensics to solve a mystery?" I asked playfully.

"Imagine that." We shared a chuckle and I added,

"It really is interesting."

"It's got to be better than the book Grissom gave me," he said, pointing to a book on the stand beside his bed. "Entomology for Dummies."

I laughed again. It was just like Grissom to give a book like that as a gift.

"I think he wanted to make sure that I got a lot of rest," Nick commented. "The minute I pick that book up, I fall asleep."

Speaking of sleeping, Nick looked utterly exhausted. Considering everything, he didn't look bad. His face was pale and covered with bites and his eyes were a little glassy but that was understandable.

Suddenly I realized that I didn't want to leave his side. A fear that something else would happen to him rose in me. I wanted to protect him, keep him safe from other wackos.

But our job was a dangerous one by nature. We had known that when we had begun our schooling. We were reminded when we were given the title of CSI. We knew the danger. We lived with it everyday.

I had to leave. Nick needed to be alone. To force him otherwise would be totally selfish.

"I've got to be going," I said. He nodded, understanding.

"I'll see you soon," he promised. "I'll be up and about again in no time." This time I nodded, smiling.

"See you around." I turned and left the hospital room, leaving Nick to his thoughts.

As I continued out of the hospital, I smiled to myself.

Nick was going to be alright.