A/N:There are very good reasons for reviews! Formatting errors for one.Loss of an entire paragraph for another. Thank you,to my eagle-eyed reviewers who noticedsomething missing. That's what I get for uploading at like 2AM, I guess. So consider this editted for format and bleary eyes. Ahem... here we go again... this is Warrick's POV of the end of Nick's rescue at the end of GD, the season five finale ...spoilers for the same, of course. Still don't have any affiliation with the show...damn. Oh, and rated T for language in case you didn't notice.
"You guys, Nick is here!"
Sara slammed her finger down on the map.
For the first time in 24 hours, Warrick felt the tiniest glimmer of hope. He checked the countdown running on his watch. Still time left. Time to find Nick. He put his hand in his pocket and felt the coin still there; rubbed it like it was a talisman.
The drive to the nursery was the longest of his life. Word got out that they had located the place of Nick's imprisonment and every available cop, and some not technically available, joined the convoy. Red and blue flashing lights rivaling all the neon on the Strip lit up the sky for miles. News vans followed behind like hyenas after a lion's kill.
Now would be the perfect time to commit a crime, he thought with grim humor. The outpouring of support didn't surprise him. Nick was very popular with the cops on the beat, something that had made Warrick jealous from time to time. He remembered his appearance at Judge Cohen's house a few years back- the neighbors called the cops on "a black man" hanging out in front of the house. Even after flashing his ID, the cop still gave him hell. Some things never changed, no matter how far he got with this job.
But now, he knew they were here for Nick, and right now, that's all that mattered. They were all blue when it came down to it.
"This is it! I found it! It's here."
Catherine's cry jump-started his heart with renewed adrenaline. He dropped to the ground and began digging in the dirt with his fingers. Someone, Grissom? handed him a shovel and he thrust it deep into the soft earth, tossing great heaps of soil off to the side.
Catherine was screaming at Nick through a pipe she had found. "Nick! Nick, we're here. Hang on!" her cries like a mom who had just realized her child had wandered off and out of her view.
In the midst of his flurry of activity he barely noticed the beeping of his watch. As it grew more insistent he stopped and looked at it as if he had just noticed its appearance on his wrist. 0:00... The countdown. Nick's air. Gone. So close. Too close. Too close to give up now. He'd always been a lucky man and he was counting on his luck holding out.
The shovel struck something hard and unyielding. He dropped to his knees and began to wipe the dirt away. Plexiglas. And his best friend's face barely visible through the clouded plastic. He was still alive, his struggling within the coffin evident. The next sight knocked the breath from his body. He thought that the web-cam view of Nick was the worst. Seeing Nick with his service piece shoved against his chin, finger tightening on the trigger, live and in living barely-breathing color was a sight he knew would repeat itself in his mind for the rest of his life.
"Hey, put that down. Put that down! We got you. We're gonna get you out of here." And it was finally true. They were going to get him out of there. They'd found him. It was all going to work out. The famous Warrick Brown luck was holding up.
Nick had put the gun down and his feverish brown eyes had locked onto Warrick's green ones. The ants continued to feast on Nick's flesh, swarmed thickly on his face and arms. "We need that fire extinguisher!" Grissom had already warned him it was the best way to kill the ants without doing additional damage to Nick. Greg appeared with the extinguisher and Warrick lifted the corner of the coffin to allow Greg access to Nick and the ants. With great satisfaction he watched the ants freeze dead on Nick's arms.
He heard Sara yell for the paramedics to come. It was all as he had pictured it would end up. Get Nick out and to the hospital. Get him fixed up and back on the job where he belonged. His fingers hooked the lid and began to pull back, his voice echoing his thoughts, "We're getting you out, Nicky. Hold on. We're getting you out."
Catherine's shout brought the whole dream crashing back to Earth. "Everyone out of the hole! That box is ready to explode! …There are charges under the box!"
No. No. Not how it was supposed to be. Not part of the plan. He looked down at his friend struggling mightily within the confines of the box. There was no way Nick would understand why he wasn't being let out. Too close. Can't let a little thing like explosive charges stop the plan from coming together.
It was Grissom who convinced him. Probably the only one who could have, except maybe his Grams.
"Warrick, Catherine's right. Get out of the hole now. I know what we're gonna do. Just trust me."
Trust me… okay, Grissom. I'm gonna trust you to do right here. Man with a plan. Don't let me down now.
He turned his head to take a final? look at his best friend. His eyes tried to tell Nick to hold on. That he wasn't leaving him. He knew in his heart there was no way Nick could understand, but he'd have plenty of time after to explain it to him. Over beers and a Rangers game. Or maybe just the beers.
He stood and watched as Grissom took his place-his place!on top of the box. The scene's surrealism only increased as he heard Grissom addressing Nick as Pancho. Wherever Grissom came up with it, it seemed to work and he saw Nick almost calm for the first time since they'd dug him up.
Grissom sketched out his plan to use the dirt's weight to take Nick's place and after they had the backhoe prepped Warrick stepped back down into the grave to help Grissom finally open the goddamned lid. Nick's hand shot out and grabbed onto Grissom's arm as a drowning man going down for the last count would, then fumbled until he found Warrick's hand on his chest, holdinghim firm until his wave of panic subsided.
Letting go of Nick's hand was the second hardest thing he'd had to do that night. He climbed out once the go ahead was given on the backhoe and watched as the carabiner was attached to Nick's belt. Warrick took his place on the rope with the rest of the team and hauled on the count, wrenching Nick from the ground with a bone-jarring landing.
Now, sitting on the bench in the ambulance, he was gratified to feel the firm grasp of Nick's hand back in his. They remained this way for the entirety of the ride to Desert Palms. He could still feel the weight of the coin he carried; less than an ounce in his pocket, but incalculable in his head and heart.