Disclaimer: They are not mine. Could I ever make a finale up to the standard of Grave Danger? Christ no.
Rating: K+ or PG
Pairings: None at all
Spoilers: Spoiler heavy for Grave Danger.
Summary: Nick is kept under hospital observation for 5 nights following Grave Danger. With a different team member watching him each night, they can each find their own resolve. No pairings. Focused on each character. WIP.
Yes, I know at the end of Perpetuity I said the next thing out from me would probably be called Every Me and Every You but that'll probably be pushed back now since I watched the Season Five finale last night and it was incredible – absolutely brilliant. Puts all other TV to shame. So I had to write something down that was post-Grave Danger. GCR fans keeping watching out for Down The Aisle which'll probably come out along with Wake The Hope which has some GCR but is mainly very WS.
Feedback for this would be greatly appreciated but, Jesus, how good was that finale! If this doesn't do the slightest bit of justice to how amazing it was, you have to tell me and I'll take it down right away. But either way - I'm giving it my best shot. Enjoy! Love LJ xXx
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Five Night Observation. Chapter One. Warrick Brown
- o -
Nick Stokes wakes in the box.
Every night this week, without fail, he will wake in that box. With the oppressive six sides pressing in on him. And the blindingly bright light clicking off the comforting whirring of the fan by his head. And the crawling, crawling, crawling of the ants.
"It's alright, man – another dream."
On the first night, it's Warrick who sits at his bedside. He offers Nick a smile as the haunted man struggles to wake up and leave it behind him. It's just a dream. Nick sits up and smiles – of course it is.
"I was, uh – I was back in the box." he confesses, shuddering slightly. His throat his dry and his voice is croaky. Warrick nods sympathetically.
"Psych said it'd take a while to get over it," Warrick says. "Which costs, what – 50 bucks for a consult? And they tell you something we all already knew." Nick grins.
"Hey, can you get me a glass of water or something, 'Rick?" Nick croaks.
"Sure, anything you like," Warrick jumps up. "I can get you a soda, if you like. Or a beer – you want a beer?"
Nick smiles slightly at his friend, so consumed by guilt that he'd get him anything he asked for. "Nah, just water would be good, 'Rick, thanks."
"Okay, sure," Warrick says distantly, pouring a glass of water from the jug on the hospital nightstand. "I guess you probably wouldn't be allowed alcohol in hospital anyway."
"Pity." Nick mentions into his drink. "Nothing like a few shots of some of that hard stuff to take the edge of something like this."
He smiles again, bitterly. They both know that he can joke about it all he likes but, when he falls back asleep again, he'll be back in the box and screaming – screaming again.
"You'll get past it though, Nicky," he assured him. "You're made of stronger stuff than that – you proved that just by being alive now. It's all because you're smart and tough."
"No," Nick replies, picking absently at the tape that holds the IV line in and offers Warrick a smile. "I'm alive now because you all didn't lose your cool. Because some dope decided to pick a fight with the city's best CSIs."
Warrick sighs and sinks his head in his palm, elbows rested on the edge of Nick's mattress. "Lose our cool?" he raises a doubtful eyebrow. "Man, you have no idea. Ask Greg – I kicked an oil can right the way across a scene – totally soaked him in it." He chuckles slightly as though it were funny at the time. It wasn't. It really wasn't.
Nick opens his mouth to speak, but Warrick hasn't quite finished off-loading his guilt yet so he shuts it and sinks back in the pillows.
"And so Cath sent me back to the lab to work on something else. I was left watching the live feed from the web cam in the box." he continues. Nick blinks – he hadn't known there was a web cam. "It was me pressing that damn button all the time, Nicky. It was me turning on that light, cutting out the fan and draining away the battery. I can't believe we didn't realise. It was me, man." He sighs again and begins to punch at his forehead with his palms. "If anything had happened to you – it would all have been down to me."
"No, man – that's not right," Nick cuts him off. "Seriously – how could you have known? I didn't even know until later on and I was right inside there. Listen, 'Rick – you all did great. I mean, I'm still here. I owe ya one. It wasn't your fault."
But Warrick looks dubious. "And this?" Warrick adds. He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out the coin.
Nick recognises it with a smile. "That?" he says. "That's just a coin, 'Rick. A 50-50 chance. Nothing more." He pauses, waiting for his friend to let go of the unreasonable responsibility he's taking on board. "I'd rather it was me than you."
"Don't say that," Warrick mutters, shaking his head. "Seriously, don't say that."
"What?" Nick protests. "Everything worked out, didn't it? I'm still alive, aren't I? It could've been a lot worse, 'Rick." He glances at Warrick's pained expression. "And anyway," he adds as an afterthought. "That box only just fit me. You're taller than me and if it'd been you, you would've had some serious neck-pain issues."
Warrick laughs slightly. "I think neck-pain would be the least of my problems, Nicky," he tells him. "I don't know how long it would've been before I'd have taken that gun to my head, but it would've been far earlier than you, man."
"No way," Nick disputes fervently. "I don't believe that for one second. You're talking crap, 'Rick."
"I'm not, Nick, but never mind," Warrick waves away the argument. "I'm not here to have you assure me of something that I know isn't true."
"So why are you here?" Nick asks.
"You shouldn't have to be by yourself tonight," Warrick says simply. "Doctors want to keep you in for the rest of the week."
"The rest of the week!" Nick repeats, incredulously. "Are you kidding me? I thought they said I was fine."
Warrick shrugs his shoulders. "Psych and all, I guess. Don't worry, Grissom's working on getting you an early release. Trying to convince them that you'd make a better recovery in familiar surroundings. Said he read a paper on it a while back. But anyway – we all agreed you shouldn't have to spend any nights alone in here, so we're taking turns in keeping watch."
Nick grins. "Who's on Nick-watch tomorrow night?"
"I'm pretty sure it's Catherine," Warrick says. "I had to fight her to make her go home tonight. She was insistent on not leaving you, but then she has Lindsey at home and hadn't slept in over 24 hours."
"I remember hearing her voice," Nick says suddenly, squinting into the night-darkened corner of the room. "When it was right at the end and I think I was losing it. I remember hearing her telling me to hang on or something. I thought it might have just been my mind messing with me again..." He trails off as the memories become far too vivid and close.
"Get some rest," Warrick cuts him off immediately, seeing his distress. "You need it – we all do. Get some sleep. Everything's alright."
Nick nods and buries his head back into the pillows. "It's been..." he mumbles vaguely, shutting his eyes. "It's been wild."
Just before he drifts off to sleep, he hears Warrick chuckle at his comment.
"You can say that again."
And in the morning, when he hands over to the rest of the team and to Nick's parents who arrive in a whirlwind of activity and concern, he stops by the fountain that stands outside the hospital entrance. A small kid apparently undaunted by the plaster cast around his wrist walks the edge of the fountain with a Get Well Soon balloon trailing from his fist. His parents beckon him down from the marble walls of the fountain to take him home again.
Warrick reaches into his pocket and pulls out the coin. After looking at it with a moment's consideration, he flips it up in the air and watches as it hits the surface of the water, sinking slowly to settle with the other coins that sparkle on the surface. He smiles, rubs his tired eyes and heads back to his car. The silver coin, the newest one on the fountain floor, lands heads up again – for the second time in one helluva day.
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