A/T: I swear this is the last chapter! I never meant to write it, but I was struck with inspiration. (I only wish I was struck with inspiration to do other things… like actually study.)

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Dedication: For kissingchaos, because she believes in this story so much.

Together

I.

Gil Grissom thinks that maybe –maybe- not everything is science.

He comes to this realization when he sees Nick and Greg together, especially at a scene.

Those two are the most non-conforming scientists he's ever met; they don't mean to be, don't mean to attract a parade of ghosts, don't mean to live an existence that crosses lines from the living to the dead and back again. They just do. Not only that, but it doesn't bother them in the least. They understand the secret of life, and if the whole of civilization knew what they knew, then it would be far more peaceful.

It's the secret Gil never realized until he met them.

The secret the ghosts undoubtedly shared.

What befalls one will befall his brothers.

If only the world understood this.

II.

There are times where he believes he caught a glimpse of the ghosts. He thinks he saw a woman standing next to Nick two nights ago, and when he blinked again she was gone. In the eyes of his two investigators, he can sometimes see the reflections of those who've died, a hint of what Nick and Greg witness every single moment, what they'll always see until they themselves leave this world and enter the next.

Sometimes he's jealous.

Jealous that they know the truth.

But this feeling never lasts long, because he knows that along with the discovery comes the weight of carrying it. He and his team can leave the lab when morning comes, can go home and try to forget their cases. Nick and Greg, on the other hand, aren't so lucky. The ghosts follow them, a constant reminder that their jobs aren't finished.

You will never be finished.

Not until-

III.

Sometimes when they're in the desert, the ghosts shimmer beneath an unforgiving sun, a glimmer that Gil can only see from the corner of his eye.

Sometimes at night, in a lost alleyway, they can be seen in reflections of broken windows and glass shards. But Gil knows they will only be there if Nick and Greg are there, too. He's adjusted to this unspoken agreement.

And his scientific curiosity eats at him, makes him want to know, but the look in Nick and Greg's eyes forbid him from asking. So he keeps his queries to himself and ruminates over it instead.

He asks his questions in solitude with hopes they might reply.

Do you really exist? Are you figments of imaginations? Walking in dimensions unseen? Acts of God?

And the ghosts answer with

We are-

IV.

Religion has always struck a bad chord in Gil. He views it as a cult –a nationally recognized, state funded, business marketed cult- led by bigots and millionaires with nice suits and big, white smiles. They know the Bible by heart and, after telling you so, will offer to give you one for free if only you join their church. Likewise, joining a church feels like buying something: there's advertising and payment and sometimes even a contract to sign. Greg once divulged that he could never shake the feeling that joining a church felt an awful lot like signing your soul to the devil. I will give you this if you will give me that. God's forgiveness comes with a price tag, often in the form of a gold offering plate. Similarly, God's love is only available through your local pastor and if you don't get it there, you won't get it anywhere.

Faith, on the other hand, is a different story.

Believe in yourself.

Those are the words that float through the lab, unwhispered by the living and uttered by the dead.

Believe in yourself. We know you'll save us.

So that's exactly what Nick and Greg set out to do.

V.

He's going deaf.

But sometimes he hears them.

Hears the ghosts.

Only when he's with Nick or Greg, of course, but it's enough for him to become chilled. Their voices are just echoes of a whisper and he always turns around to see who's speaking to him, hoping that he might catch a peek of a face.

The empty hallway greets him instead.

The voices ask

Are you ready for what's coming?

VI.

Sometimes Gil must tell himself to keep his mouth shut, especially around people who question Nick and Greg's relationship.

People ask Are you really sure? Some even have the nerve to say You only think it's love, implying that their emotions and feelings are merely the result of delusion. They say that they're just confused, that there must be some traumatic experience from their past that makes them want men.

But it isn't men that either CSI wants.

It's each other.

And it becomes obvious to Gil that humanity's biggest enemy is humanity itself. No one is willing to compromise. No one is prepared to agree. One must always be completely right while everyone else is wrong; the world wants to be black and white when it actually moves in shades of gray. So when they question his two CSIs, Gil must force himself not to grow angry. How can another person belittle a bond like that? How can they sum it up to confusion? How can they claim it's viewed with disgust by a god that's yet to be proven?

Some say It's not really love.

But they don't know his two investigators and they haven't seen the sacrifices they make. What they especially don't understand is that Nick and Greg have the winning hand in the game. The two men smile and let people whisper whatever ugly rumor they want, but in the end, they'll come out on top. Outsiders don't realize that every decision Nick has made and every option Greg has chosen throughout their lives led them past Texas, past California, and to Las Vegas; they made their way through a winding world and found each other anyway.

You can't say that doesn't mean anything. You can't say it's only coincidence.

There's no such thing.

VII.

There's this one moment branded into Gil's memory, a mental photograph of some sort. He's not sure when he picked it up –during a normal shift, probably- but it still plays through his mind from time to time, springing up unbidden. It's during the night, and he remembers seeing those two taking a break on the second story of the lab. It's less busy up there and offers opportunities for a private conversation.

They had been occupying an empty room and the window was open while sounds of traffic and laughter floated up to meet them. It was bitterly cold and wind from the desert blew Greg's bangs around as they gazed at their bright and flashy city, filled with all the people who doubted them. Gil had watched for a moment –they were so quiet but still so together- and then opened his mouth to get their attention. But before he could make a sound or form a single syllable, something else spoke for him.

The voices of the ghosts –all those voices- echoed and stirred throughout the city; they floated through glass walls and bounced off the sky like a wind.

The voices asked

Are you ready?

while the Devil promised everything for the small price of their souls.

Considering their souls are shared with each other (Nick has half of Greg's, and Greg has half of Nick's; it's been that way ever since they were born) the Devil cannot take them.

VIII.

It's put into perspective for Gil when he sees a suspect being led through to an interrogation room, and maybe it's because Nick and Greg are standing so close together that he hassles them. Nick barely gets defensive in return, and Greg doesn't respond at all; they simply continue with their jobs, uncaring of how the small-minded view them.

Because the small-minded don't understand that what they have is rare.

Their relationship takes courage

and devotion

and liberty

and resolve

and no, we aren't confused.

IX.

The question still shakes him.

Are you ready for what's coming?

FIN.

We are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying.

The Dry Salvages, T.S. Eliot