Title: Don't Take It With You

Note: Not sure where this came from...just something I thought up as I was getting ready this morning! Just starting thinking about the events in last night episode and this little diddy developed! Hope you enjoy...let me know what ya think!


Her hair was a little bit shorter. Maybe that's why he hadn't recognized her right away. Maybe it wasn't her hair, it was something else. Kelly Gordon looked different than the girl he'd gone to see in prison. She looked different than the girl he'd gone to see after…

She said she'd been thinking about what he said. She'd been thinking a lot.

Don't take it with you.

Don't take it with you.

When he'd said it, he really didn't know what he meant by it.

He'd processed the phrase the whole way back home that day. He'd even thought about it weeks after. He still didn't fully understand it, but there was a sense of peace he felt. Something he hadn't felt since…

Maybe he was beginning to understand.

It was haunting almost to see her sitting in the reception area. She looked good. She'd gotten early parole. She said the parole board liked her smile. He'd seen the hint of her smile in her eyes as the brief visit ended. A far cry from the coldness he'd witnessed back in the summer.

Kelly, are you okay?

Perfect.

He was left with an uneasy feeling as he watched her walk out of the lab.

She said she was perfect.

Work was nearly impossible the rest of shift. Finishing up the car was out of the question. He hadn't told anyone Kelly had stopped by. Didn't know if he should, really. They must have noticed something was up. They must have noticed he was off.

Nicky, you with us?

You okay, Nick?

Maybe they just assumed the case was affecting him. Missing kids tended to put everyone on edge. This case was no different.

Who was he kidding?

Yeah it was.

Every case seemed to be tinged with a new hue since…

And then there was Cassie McBride. Something about that little girl just hit him hard. She was special.

At least to Nick.

He really didn't want the team to worry about him. They'd done enough of that recently.

He'd keep Kelly's visit to himself.

For now.

He knew he needed to stick around to get the results from Hodges. Any chances of finding Jesse Matthews' body may hang on this piece of evidence.

He headed to the break room and grabbed a soda out of the fridge. He smiled to himself thinking about the experiments Grissom had stored in the fridge in the past. It'd been a couple years since the last one.

Man, that blood is rank, he'd said throwing his lunch away.

Those were simpler days then, he thought taking a seat on the sofa. It'd probably be a while before any test results would be in. He had some time to kill.

He set his soda can on the small table beside him and leaned his head back on the back of the couch and closed his eyes.

He was getting a headache.

"Hey, Nicky," Catherine breezed into the break room and poured herself a cup of coffee.

"Hey," he said opening his eyes as he raised his head. He took a swig from his Coke.

"You okay?" she asked stopping short at the door.

When would they quit asking that question? Never before had two words made a man cringe so much.

"I'm fine," he nodded.

Never before had two words made a woman cringe so much.

"I'm hanging around waiting for some results from Hodges," he shrugged. "From Karen Matthews' car."

"Oh," she said hesitating at the door.

Her mother senses told her there was something more going on. Her mother senses also told her not to pry. Nick would open up when he was ready.

She hoped, anyway.

"Hey, Cath, you got a second?" Warrick asked from the hall.

"Yeah," she nodded watching Warrick head to the layout room. "Nick, you know…"

"I know," he nodded.

If you need to talk…

He watched as Catherine left. He was alone again. It didn't bother him so much anymore. He was getting used to privacy again, relishing in it at times.

Greg came into the room, drumming to his own tune. For a minute he resembled the naive lab tech he used to be. The kid had grown up a lot since entering field work. He almost hated seeing the big change. He missed the old Greg.

"Hey, man," the young criminalist said taking a seat in a chair next to his friend. "What's up?"

"Waiting on some results from Hodges."

It may not have been the answer the kid was looking for, but it's what he got. Nick didn't feel like explaining himself right now.

He couldn't get Kelly out of his head.

"Weird case," he said. Was he looking for a reaction?

"Yeah," Nick nodded taking another drink of his soda.

"So…"

Greg was uncomfortable. Why was he uncomfortable?

"Hey, Greg, results are back," Sara said from the doorway. She was on her way to Grissom's office, inviting Greg to join her.

The kid jumped up from his seat, relieved to have something to do.

Nick was left to enjoy the silence of an empty room.

Kelly, are you okay?

It was a question that made him cringe every time it got asked. Yet this time, he really wanted to know. This time he was the one asking the question.

She only needed one word to answer. His typical two word response to that question was trumped.

In one word she'd managed to put so much meaning, so many possibilities.

Maybe she'd given him the hope of something better. Something so unattainable suddenly seemed possible. Maybe something good was coming out of the past few months.

He couldn't help but wonder what she really meant.

The look in her eyes was almost haunting. The contrast from the girl last summer was enough to make him shudder. There was light in her eyes. There was hope in her voice.

Perfect.

And then she was gone. It was a short visit, simple in all visible aspects.

How could something apparently so simple leave a man with so many seemingly unanswerable questions?

Perfect.

The word resonated in his head as he stood and threw away his empty soda can. He yawned, rubbing his recently clean shaven upper lip. He wished it could be easy for him to say. He wished it could even be easier to mean.

Perfect.

He was far from it.

Perfect.

Maybe that was the best place to be.