He never thought it would end like this, never. Dead in one of his old neighborhood seedy alleys, meeting his fate next to a young LVPD officer and an overfilled dumpster reeking from the usual negligence in this forgotten part of town; a routine call with Brass and two other officers just behind the corner from where loud radio traffic had drenched the sound of the silencer of the gun now pointing at him. The officer at his feet whimpered and Warrick knew without looking that the raspy exhale was his last. And his would come next, there was no debating with this perp; the eyes of the young man were wild and pupils pinprick small and cold sweat streamed down his temples and desperation not of this world shone from his eyes.

"Where's my stash," the perp asked again in a hoarse low voice. The barrel of the gun making a small forward movement in demand of a prompt answer, the metal reflecting the dim streetlight behind them.

Warrick found he had lost his voice and his entire attention was focused on the finger shivering on the trigger.

"Hey! Drop the gun!"

Warrick wanted to close his eyes the moment he heard Nick's voice because he knew what would happen. And he stood there frozen and watched while it did.

The young man turned and his finger pulled the trigger. The sound was almost soft as the bullet took its intended trajectory toward Nick. Warrick's gun was already out but not in time to stop the second pull of the trigger before the perp was slugged back from the bullet hitting him square in the chest. The gun making a scrambling noise as it hit the asphalt and slid until it was stopped by the dead officer's forever stilled feet.

The ruckus was immediate; officers swarmed the scene and angry hollering filled the air while there were multiple calls for backup and ambulances made with frantic voices.

Warrick heard it behind the roaring echo of the gunshots that sung a sickly tune in his ears while he pushed his way to Nick. Nick who was lying slumped up against the tile wall with dirt falling over his inert form. Nick whose eyes were shut and whose chest was covered in sticky red, Nick who suddenly became obscured from his view when a blue uniform blocked his path. Warrick growled, the first sound that had come over his lips since he found himself eye to eye with his imminent death. He gripped the uniform with both hands, shoved its bearer to the side and then sank to his knees at Nick's side.

Warrick felt cold and oddly void when he cradled Nick into his lap. This must be a new nightmare, he thought as his fingers searched for a pulse on Nick's neck. Not happening, not happening repeated endlessly in his head while his hands touched the skin of his best friend and the one time lover he'd tried to avoid this last month. The one he had been working up the nerve to straighten things out with. Not happening! his mind screamed but his eyes took in the small rivulet of blood forming at the corner of Nick's mouth and as his fingers cradled Nick's face, the warm stickiness of it made it all too real. Someone shone a stark beam of light on Nick's face and swore. The image of pallor and blood and stillness etched itself on Warrick's retinas and he closed his eyes and pulled Nick closer to keep him warm.

"Fuck you Nicky," he heard himself whimper, "I'll fucking kill you if you die on me now bro. I'll whop your skinny ass so you can't sit for a fucking month if you leave me. I'll tie you to the bed and never let you out of the house Nicky, I fucking promise! I'll - "

"You need to let go of him Warrick!"

He recognized Brass' voice, the grip on his shoulder was of steel but he just shook his head and cradled Nick closer. "Ain't leaving him."

"Warrick, you have to let the paramedics work on him!" Strong hands forced him to let go and he opened his eyes and saw paramedics hovering over Nick, shining lights in his eyes and talking amongst each other. Hurried but precise movements blurred Warrick's field of vision, voices uttering orders and words like 'critical', 'massive hemorrhage' and 'weak sinus rhythm' floated into his mind and the nausea that attacked him had the bile in his throat competing with the increasing tremors in his limbs.

When the ambulance doors shut and the sirens ripped him out of his dulled haze he, Warrick Brown, unceremoniously disturbed the crime scene by emptying his stomach into the pool of blood around his bended knees.