… I Can't Unlove You …

Characters ae not mine. Song belongs to Kenny Rogers, not me, and this is a character death fic.

Tears spilled down his face as he threw the last of Greg's clothes into the large cardboard box sitting at the foot of their bed, their two dogs, Maverick and Dax staring up at him, as if wondering what in the world he was doing. His gaze fell on the worn teddy bear that Greg had made with him when they'd gone to Build-A-Bear for their first anniversary -it had been Greg's idea- and they'd given their bear's hearts to each other, representing their own.

"Why….?" Nick whimpered, throwing that into the box as well, unable to stand the memories attached to it. He added his own bear before stripping the sheets from their bed that smelled so much like Greg, hiding them away as well.

He ventured into the bathroom, with a smaller cardboard box, shoving the variety of hair products on the sink and the ones overflowing the shower into the box, they were all Greg's… He added Greg's fluffy neon orange bath towels, that were still a bit damp from his shower this morning and sealed the box.

Nick wiped his tears away momentarily, stepping back into their room, as memories flooded his brain. The first time they'd made love in their home, the times he'd held his young lover after the attack in the alley or when Greg had held him after they'd found him in that damned plexi-glass hell. How Greg would beg him to let the dogs sleep at the foot of the bed, even though Nick didn't want them to. The half finished puzzle that they'd worked on during nights when they couldn't sleep, nightmares plaguing both of their minds. That would stay, he had to finish that.

He couldn't decide whether to burn the boxes or hide them in the attic so he could still feel Greg nearby if he ever needed to, deciding on the latter for the moment as he moved them back into the living room, joining the pile he already had stacked against the wall.

Sliding down the wall until he hit his knees on the bight blue carpeting Greg had picked out when they'd moved in together two years ago, the tears returned worse than they had earlier, all of this proving to be real and not some horrible, horrible nightmare.

His eyes fell shut, exhausted from everything that had happened that day, Dax whimpering and snuggling against him, he pulled the golden retriever closer, even able to smell his lover on his dog.

Postcards and letters
And pictures made to last forever
To be boxed up and tossed away
Knickknacks and souvenirs
In an afternoon, they're out of here
They'll disappear without a trace
But what they mean to me
Can never be replaced

"Greg, are you sure you want me to leave?" he'd asked, unsure of the situation. There had been a triple homicide at a local school and Grissom had called him back to the lab to process some of the evidence, as the D.A. was on their backs.

The younger man nodded, kneeling down beside his kit, one of the bodies a few feet away. "I'll be fine, Nicky. The scenes clear and there are officers here. Go ahead." After making sure no one was looking, he pressed a quick kiss to his lover's lips before continuing with his work.

Nick shrugged, a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach as he loaded the evidence they'd already gathered into the back of the Denali and headed back to the lab.

His eyes snapped open, the phone ringing a few feet away. "Hello?" he mumbled, not particularly interested in a conversation with anyone right now.

He changed his opinion on that subject upon hearing the voice on the other end of the line. "Honey, we just got the news from Dr. Grissom. How are you holding up?" his mother's soft voice calmed him down a bit.

"I'm not, Mom. I spent the day packing up his stuff. I can't stand it. I can see him everywhere." Fresh tears brimmed in his reddened eyes, as he relayed the entire story to his mother, his father listening on the other line. "I can't believe he's gone. I still feel like he's here, like he'll walk through the door any second now and ask me what's wrong. I can see him everywhere, smell him on everything, he's everywhere…"

"Aw, baby, we'll get through this. Greg wouldn't want you to fall apart like this." Jillian tried to comfort him, though it failed. This was one of the times where only Greg could do that and he wasn't here anymore.

He hated when people said that. 'They wouldn't want you to be upset..' or things along those lines. He'd lost his lover of three years, their anniversary was in two days, he'd been planning on asking Greg to marry him, the ring was still tucked in his jeans pocket. Upon realizing that, he threw the velvet case into the box with the letters and post cards they'd sent to each other over the years, something they'd done just for fun as they were never that far away from each other.

"Momma, I have to go. I'll call you back later."

I can't unthink about you
I can't unfeel your touch
I can't unhear all the words
Unsay all the things
That used to mean so much
I wish I could unremember
Everything my heart's been through
And finding out it's impossible to do
Oh, it's no use
I can't unlove you

"Nicky…" Grissom stopped him in the hallway. There's been an accident."

That was all the older man had to say to send him into a panic. He knew something bad was going to happen. He -knew- it. "What's wrong? Is Greg okay? What happened?" He really could care less if he was being paranoid, if his supervisor wasn't even talking about Greg, he really didn't.

Grissom led him into his office, forcing him to sit down before continuing. "Officer Forester didn't completely clear your scene. Greg went into the locker rooms to process a blood trail, the perp was hiding in there. He pulled his weapon on Greg. Officer Forester came in and shot the guy, but it was too late, Nicky. I'm sorry, the paramedics tried, but, Greg didn't make it."

"No..." Nick shook his head, backing out of the room. "No, it's not true. Greg's fine, he has to be fine…" With that, he raced out of the lab, barely making it though the glass doors before he fell to his knees in the grass, loosing control of his stomach as he cried.

Catherine came out a moment later, sitting down beside him. "Let me take you home."

He shook his head. "I wanna see Greg."

"I don't think that's a good idea, Nicky." she protested, but knew it was pointless, just as it had been for her when Eddie had died.

"I don't care. I need to see him."

"Alright. Get in the car."

He'd somehow managed to fall asleep on the sofa, unable to stand the memories surrounding their room. He had no idea how he was going to get through this, not being able to fall asleep holding his lover and waking up in the mornings alone again, he couldn't remember the last time he'd slept alone.

"Why didn't I stay with you? Why didn't you go back to the lab instead of me? Why did it have to be you?" So many questions raced through his mind as he lay there, clutching the bear he'd pulled out of the box tightly in his grip, as if letting it go would make it all replay in his mind again.

Intestates and old songs
Like time they go on and on
I guess I could learn to do the same
I could wake up without you
These two arms not around you
Tell myself it's meant to be this way
No matter how I try I can't change

"Are you sure about this, Nick?" Catherine asked, standing beside him in front of the hospital room door. The coroner hadn't come for Greg's body yet.

"I'm sure," he nodded, pushing the door in and making his way to the bed. He covered his mouth with his hand, a fresh batch of tears staining his cheeks as they fell.

He ran a hand through his young lover's hair and along the cold, lifeless skin of his face, his eyes were still open, the chocolate brown orbs now a dull, void of life, grey, his skin paler than it seemed possible to be. He pulled the sheet lower, spotting the no-doubt fatal bullet wound just under his left collarbone, the place where Nick would lay his head and listen to Greg's heartbeat for hours on end.

"Oh, God…" he cried, leaning down to press a soft kiss to the younger's forehead. "'I'll love you forever, Greggo." he whispered into the silence of the room, wishing they were lying together in bed and that he wasn't talking to a corpse, he carefully closed his lovers eyes, giving his hand one last, reassuring, squeeze before he fixed the sheet and walked away.

"He's really gone."

The funeral was held two days later, his family, Greg's family, the majority of the lab, several detectives, and a few of their friends from outside of work were all there, paying their respects to the late C.S.I. Something they shouldn't have had to do for another sixty years.

If Nick heard the words "I'm sorry," one more time today, he was going to scream. He hated those words, they couldn't do anything except remind him of what had happened. He could hear Grissom saying them as he explained what had occurred at the crime scene that had taken his true love away, could hear the doctor's telling him the same when he'd asked for details on how Greg had died.

For the last two days he'd been buried in a mountain of paperwork, trying to arrange everything and it had kept his mind off of his lover. He'd insisted Greg wear the ring that Nick would have given him today and that both of their names be written on the grave-stone, hyphenated 'Sanders-Stokes' it had taken a lot of favors from others to get past the red tape, but he'd done it.

He found himself sitting outside not long after the viewing had started. Sara emerged from the building as well, never one for crowds, and took a seat beside him.

"It's not fair." Nick sighed, once again wiping his teas away. "Today was supposed to be perfect, I was going to ask him to be mine forever. How'd everything go so wrong?"

She wrapped he arms around him. "I'm sure he knew how much you loved him, Nicky." she whispered, before deciding that he probably wanted to be alone and heading back inside.

There weren't anymore distractions now and all he could do was cry. Cry for Greg, cry for everything they lost, cry for everything they didn't get to have. He'd unpacked most of Greg's things again, as packing them up had been a first instinct decision made when he wasn't thinking clearly. Granted, he still wasn't thinking clearly but he knew getting rid of Greg's things or hiding them away wouldn't make this any easier.

"Nicky," Warrick's voice floated to him from the doors. "They're getting ready to move."

He nodded, following the older man back inside so they could continue the funeral.

I can't unthink about you
I can't unfeel your touch
I can't unhear all the words
Unsay all the things
That used to mean so much
I wish I could unremember
Everything my heart's been through
And finding out it's impossible to do
Oh, it's no use
I can't unlove you

He forced himself to watch the coffin as it was lowered into the ground. Despite the fact that Nick hated that general idea, his lovers parents had insisted on it, and in however many years, Nick would be beside him, facing his biggest fears to be with the one he loved.

I wish I could unremember
Everything my heart's been through
And finding out it's impossible to do
Oh, oh, it's no use
I can't unlove you