Sun Stealing

A CSI: fanfic by Princess Artemis

© copyright S.D. Green, 2005 except for what is obviously © copyright Brukheimer, Zuiker, and CBS or Diane Duane

Note: This is a 1st POV from Greg. He's being brutally honest, which I feel accounts for some of the things he says that he'd never say to anyone on CSI.

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I love it when Nick touches me and I love it when Sara smiles.

I think that requires some explanation. Not being one to disappoint, I'll proceed to do just that. I'll start with Nick, because I'm pretty sure it wouldn't surprise anyone to hear a guy say they loved seeing Sara smile. She's got a gorgeous smile. She's got a gorgeous everything. She's…ah, sorry, I'm getting off track. That's what happens when I get thinking about her, although maybe you'll be surprised as to what I have to say on the subject. Anyway, as I said, I love it when Nick touches me. Now, I'm not really all that touchy-feely myself (except with the ladies, although I've heard even then I'm not as much as some would like), but Nick, whole different story. I'm sure everyone knows he's an emotional guy, but what everyone does not know, and I'm pretty certain of this, is that he's physically affectionate. I mean, seriously physically affectionate. I'm talking bounding puppies and kittens sleeping in my hair affectionate here. Not to say Nick ever slept in my hair. That would be a whole new world of weird.

OK, so Nick is naturally all into the touching people. The problem with this is, we don't live in a society that's all gung-ho for the touchy guys. Or the emotional guys. Well, me and Nick don't, maybe you're lucky and you do. Anyway, people assume all sorts of things they shouldn't, because Real Men don't show their emotions, and they sure as Hell don't touch other Real Men. There's like this macho law or something. Women, they get to cry and hug and generally be as emotional as they want, but no no no, Real Men can't do that. And that's real hard on Nick. He's a demonstrative guy. It's natural for him to want to touch people…and it's all cool if he touches a girl, because, well, that's A-OK for Real Men. Not so cool if he wants to touch a guy.

Well, Archie and I got to talking one day. Before I got out in the field, I spent a lot of time with the lab techs. Still do; it's not like they stopped being my friends just because I'm on the other side of the machines…that wouldn't be cool. OK, so I don't talk to Hodges. He can go stuff himself in the Mass Spec for all I care. But Archie is Good People, if a bit geeky. Don't look at me like that! He is and you know it! And yes, I do have a point, I just can't get to it without tangenting off into Archie's Land of the Geeks. So, Archie is a hopeless Trekkie. I've seen a few episodes here and there, but he's obsessed or something. Even reads the books, and yes, the man has costumes and fake pointed ears. I think he's got one of those funky daggers those guys with the dinosaur foreheads carry around. To get back to what we were talking about: somehow me and Archie got to discussing philosophy, and he started in on Vulcan sayings from some Surak dude, claiming they were good philosophy. I don't remember much, but one of them stuck. "The spear in the Other's heart is the spear in your own; You are He." The reason this stuck with me wasn't because I understood it the way Archie claims Vulcans did, all sideways and kinda impersonal (at least I think, aren't they the pointy eared people who don't do the emotions thing?); it stuck because in my head it turned into something different. I know it's all about how other people hurt would make a compassionate person hurt…but, turn that on its ear, and you have why I love it when Nick gets all up in my personal space and why I love to see Sara smile. Here's the Greg Sanders version: 'The light in your heart is the light in mine'.

Lemme further expound on this mystery. I mentioned I'm not a real touchy-feely guy, so I have to admit the first time Nick put his hand on my shoulder, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Yeah, OK, he's my friend, but dude. I didn't say anything though, didn't want him to be uncomfortable just because I'm not all for the touchy stuff. That's what friends do, right? So then, next time, he put his hand on my chest. I'm thinkin', "What…the…Hell?" Then I think I figured it out. And no, I never thought he was hitting on me, it didn't feel like that. What I figured out was my buddy Nick here was comfortable around me. I don't know if it was me, but I think it is, and I'll get to that when I get to Sara, but he was enough at ease with me to drop the Real Man crap and be himself. Which, as I mentioned before, is pretty damn demonstrative. He knew I wasn't going to get on him about it. Maybe it's the hair. Who knows? Point is, Nick's more himself around me than he is around the others. He's not out for my approval, I don't bring out his competitive streak (except when he thinks he's gonna beat me at Soul Caliber II, ha!), and I don't inspire any over protectiveness in him. In short, I don't threaten him in any way. Nothing to get in the way of pure Nick. And just Nick is good down to his DNA. He's a good man, and it shows so much better when he's not feeling like he has to put on some stupid mask, or act in some way to mask his insecurities, which he has a lot of. I feel privileged, and he feels like himself.

Do I like it when Nick touches me? No, not really. But I do love it, because it means he feels safe. I love Nick (yes, you heard right—wanna make something of it?), and I love it when he feels good, when he feels at ease. He doesn't get enough of that in our work. It's dark, ugly work, and there's lots of other crap, too. And I'll do everything I can to keep that out; sacrificing my personal space isn't that big a deal.

Now it's time to turn to the most lovely Sara. Yeah, the crazy man's going to explain why he loves it when Sara smiles, as if he needed a reason. Well, he does. I mean, no, I don't need a reason to like seeing her smile, who would? But I do need a reason to love it. Does that not make sense? Why should it not make sense? If you're a guy, and some statuesque, unconventionally gorgeous woman who is not your girlfriend, lover, daughter, or wife, smiles at you, can you honestly say you love it? Same for the ladies—handsome man, not your boyfriend, lover, son, or husband, smiles at you, are you feeling love? Sure, it happens sometimes, but take a look at why.

Here's my why, in a whole lot of rambling words. It's got nothing to do with Sara's looks, which are spectacular, if I hadn't mentioned that yet. She's a very solitary, somber individual. She's got a pretty sharp tongue on her. Major deal though, she's very unhappy. She hasn't always been obvious about it, but I'm not blind. She's got an aura of sadness around her and defenses so thick it's like she lives inside a giant Sara-fortress with no way in or out. I want to make her happy. Well, not make her, no one can make anyone feel anything they don't want to. That's all semantics anyway; I want her to be happy, and I want to contribute to her being happy.

I used to have a crush on her, you know. So I can't say I was always being perfectly selfless in wanting to see her happy. Ideally happy with me. I don't feel that way anymore. That's not to say I wouldn't be totally overjoyed if she decided that happy with me was something she wanted. Someone would probably have to peel me off the ceiling. But…I don't…need that. It's kinda funny, in a way. I don't need that because I love her. I have for a long time. So, yeah, I love her. She's my friend. I'd give anything to her if it made her happy. She's so independent though. She doesn't want to take anything from anyone to be happy. That's where my ineffable sneakiness comes in. My stealth Gregness. She doesn't seem to realize it, but she does take from me and it does make her happy. Yours truly has something that gets her to forgetting her sadness, at least for a little while. Gets her smiling.

We work together a lot now. And I've noticed that lately, she smiles a lot more around me than she used to. Hell, she even giggles! Yeah, Sara Sidle giggles! One of the most beautiful sounds in the world, and I about burst knowing that I helped that lovely sound echo in the halls. For a little while, her defenses fall, and she feels safe feeling happy. Sometimes I think she doesn't feel safe feeling anything, really. I don't know much about why she's so sad, or why she has a fortress around her. But I love seeing her bound out past the moat and dance on the hill, looking like nothing could get her down. Seems being around me makes her feel a little safer, too. She lets her hair down, so to speak. She doesn't tell me very many secrets, but she does, by smiling the way she does, let me know that she knows life isn't all dark. It hurts me to see her trapped in dark places when she's so full of life. She's so trapped. So I love to see her smile.

I admit, I feel differently about seeing Sara smile than I do about Nick touching me. I do like to hear her laugh; I like to see her smile. I like seeing Nick smile, too. But it doesn't matter if I like her smiles a lot better than Nick's hand on my chest. That's not the point. Like doesn't have a lot to do with love, not the way I love Sara and Nick.

There's something about me, I suppose. Some people might call it 'non-threatening' vibes. It's not exactly, but like that. I know what it really is. I already said I love them, and I think that's it right there. They know it, although I never ever said it to either one. I think they both know, deep down inside, subconsciously, that I'd steal the sun, even if it singed my hands, for them if they needed it. And I kinda do. Nick is my best friend, although I don't think I'm his…doesn't matter. Sara's coming close on being my other best friend, and again, I don't think I'm hers, although I wonder sometimes. Still doesn't matter. How could it? I love them. The light in their hearts is the light in my own. That's more than enough.