Nick gets an interesting e-mail, realizing his future rides on how he reacts to it. Nick/Greg. Characters not mine.

Sighing, Nick made his way into his condo, slumping down onto his sofa and flipping on the television, his yellow lab curled up beside him. Upon realizing that there wasn't all that much of interest on at seven in the morning beyond talk shows, he muted it, pulling his laptop off of the coffee table in front of him and flipping it open.

"Can always count on Greggo for amusing e-mails…" he told himself, bringing up MSN and typing in his password, as well as pulling up his iTunes and clicking on a random song.

"You've got mail!" the automated computer voice announced and he clicked on the icon.

He smiled. "Five e-mails, I knew you'd come through."

The first one was lyrics to a song he'd asked Greg for, he stuck that in a separate folder and continued on. The second email was a video, called 'Find the three differences' He knew the ex-lab rat well enough to know exactly what this was and opened it anyway, scanning the picture and not even flinching when a ghost like skeleton face popped up, screaming as it faded in and out of the screen.

"Nice try…" Nick mumbled, forwarding it onto most of the people on his contact list.

He clicked the third email, waiting for the forwarded message to open.

'Why, Why, Why -

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are going dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are -not- on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid idiot?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

And my FAVORITE...
The statistics on sanity state that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you. I've done my job and sent this email to you , now it's up to you to send it on.'

He laughed at the email, able to relate to most of the things on the list before sending that one as well. The next was the reply to the survey he'd sent to Greg a week ago. Now, intrigued, he opened it.

'Now here's how this works... copy and paste this email into a new one, delete my answers and fill in your answers. And make sure you send a blank one to all of your friends, including me, so I can fill in the answers about you! Think you know me pretty well? Answer these following questions and see how well you do!

What's my name? Nick Stokes

Take a stab at my middle name: Michael

What color are my eyes? Chocolate Brown

What's my favorite sport? Football, so long as A&M or whatever team from Texas is winning.

What's my favorite TV show? House MD, Law and Order, ER-but only the older episodes when it actually had a valid plotline.

How old am I? 35

When's my birthday? August 18th 1971

How many pets do I have? One, a dog, named Maverick - he's your shadow.

Do I smoke: Nope!

Do I believe in God: Yep.

Do I have any siblings: 6 older sisters (I pray for you)

What are some of my favorite things to do: Paragliding, betting with Warrick, watching sports.

What's my favorite type of music: Country… lots of country.

What is my favorite food? Steak and eggs

Now, test your memory!

When and how did we first meet? December 17th 1997, when I transferred into the Las Vegas crime lab.

Have you ever seen me cry? Yes, and it made me cry

Have you ever cried because of or over me? Not that you know of…

If you had to pick ONE, and ONLY one, what has been your favorite thing that you have done with me? When you came over after I made CSI and played video games with me all night long

Have we ever gotten in a fight? Unless you count the random disagreements we have over cases every so often, or when you called me a CSI wannabe when I helped you on your scuba diver case, never.

Now the most important part... OPINIONS! PLEASE be honest and answer them ALL!

What did you think about me before we became friends? You seemed like a nice, charming guy who stands up for victims who can't speak for themselves, your passionate about your work and just about everything you do, though sometimes you get to close, which is not always a bad thing..

What is the best feature about me: You're everlasting friendship, your smile, your eyes, your hair… Stop me anytime…

Am I shy or outgoing: Outgoing

Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules: Follow the rules.

Any special talents: Making me laugh, making me smile.

Do you enjoy being with me and hanging out with me? You're my best friend, hell yes.

Do you look forward to seeing me when we get to see each other? Nope, I come in early and stay late for the hell of it (Pease note the sarcasm).

Do you think that I have been supportive through all the things that have happened in your life? I wish you'd come to see me after the lab explosion, but that's in past.

If you had a problem, would you come to me and talk to see if I could fix it? Of course, I hope you'd do the same.

Do you think I'm pretty? Doesn't even begin to describe you…

What is your favorite thing to do with me? Just being in the same room with you is enough for me.

Would you consider me a good friend? Is the sky blue?

Would you consider me one of your BEST friends? You ARE my best friend.

Why are you friends with me? Because you are the most amazing person I've ever met. Your funny and sweet and charming and I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you.

Do you think that we'll be friends forever? I'm hoping for more than friends…

If you ever move away, will you keep in touch? I'd never leave Vegas unless you asked me to.

Do I get annoying sometimes? Some people may think so, but everything they might find irritating I find amazing.

If I had something on my face, stuck in my teeth, etc., would you tell me? Depends how amusing I could make the situation, I love teasing you.

If we ever got in a fight, do you think we would get over it fast, slow, or not at all? I know I'd forgive you in a heartbeat.

In one word, describe me. Love


On a scale of 1-10, how good of a friend am I? 100,000,000,000,000,000,000

NOW, REMEMBER. Don't forward this message, copy and paste it. And make sure you send a blank version to all your other friends, INCLUDING me! And if any of your friends get any questions wrong, make sure to tell them!'

He read over the answers, amazed by how well the other man knew him and surprised by most of them. It sounded like… like Greg was in love with him. No way…

He closed the window and opened it again, making sure it was really there. It was. Nick sighed, opening Greg's last message, it was brief and plain for emails from the spiky haired CSI.


If you hadn't figured it out by my answers to your survey. Yes, I am in love with you. I have been for a while now. And I felt you needed to know. I've been offered a job at Quantico, as a lab rat -my parents are pushing it on me-, and, as I said, if you want me to stay in Vegas, I'd do it in a heartbeat. If what I've told you has just sent our friendship down in flames, then maybe it's best if I do go. I won't be into work tonight and if I don't hear from you by tomorrow, I'll be gone and I'll know your answer. Give me a reason to stay, Nicky…


Nick stared in disbelieve at the message, and he read it three more times before he slammed his laptop shut. "Damn…" He buried his face in his hands. One of his best friends had just sprung a serious bombshell on him and then left it up to him to either go after it, or face loosing him.

All he'd wanted to do was keep himself entertained for a while until something worthwhile came on television. Now he was in life-altering decision territory.

Unable to process the thought of loosing his best friend, he stared intently at the wall in front of him, at the pictures of the night shift C.S.I.'s covering the wall, one in particular catching his eye. He'd been leaning over Greg when they'd gone out to dinner with the rest of the team after cracking a tough case. It wasn't a very good picture, but he'd framed it and put it dead center on the wall. It was his favorite.

"Greg, I don't know what to do." he spoke into the empty room, Maverick staring at him and barking softly.

He knew he felt something for the ex-lab rat, and, though he wasn't entirely sure what, he didn't want to let it go without even acknowledging it.

The next thing he knew he was standing outside of the door to Greg's apartment, completely soaked as it had started raining on his way over. 'How appropriate…' Nick had mumbled, raising his hand to knock on the door.

A moment later, there was still no answer. He knocked again, and again, and still Greg didn't answer the door. Figuring that the younger man was probably asleep, as he knew that's exactly where he would be right now had he not read that email, he pulled out the key Greg had given him some time ago.

However, he now doubted that the lab-tech was asleep. The apartment was filled with light, the black-out curtains that usually blocked the sunlight during the day were gone, as were the books and touches of Greg that normally graced the many shelves on the walls.

"Greg?" he yelled into the apartment, quickly searching every inch of it in case this was some dirty trick that Greg would never play on him.

No trace of Greg remained. Nick fell to his knees against the front door, tears spilling down his face. "I'm too late…" He realized.

He couldn't figure it out. Greg had said in the email that he'd still be here today. Did he really doubt that Nick would eel the same so much that he'd given up already? Was he afraid of how Nick would react if he didn't feel the same? Or…

Had he simply read the email too late?

Realization dawning on him, he was quickly out of the apartment, praying that whatever plane Greg would be on hadn't left yet.

He must have broken at least two dozen traffic laws in his rush to get to the airport, briefly he questioned why no sane person had called the cops on him yet, but that that thought was fleeting as he pulled to a stop in front of the airport, flashing his ID badge at the parking attendant trying to get him to realize he wasn't allowed to be there.

"Do you have any flights to Quantico?" Nick asked the woman behind the information counter. She rattled off several flights that were leaving soon, which only did more to lower his chances of finding Greg.

Finally, he decided he was better off just looking for himself. He made his way through the security area, his eyes quickly surveying the people lingering around the terminals. If Greg was still here, Nick would see him, he knew.

The B-Gate had seemed to be a common theme in the list of flights the information clerk had spouted off, so he headed that way first.

B-1, B-2... B-6... He passed several more, ruling them all out as possibilities.

"Please still be here…" He whispered to himself, as he continued around the outline of the terminal, stopping at every flight labeled 'Quantico' to search for his love.

A spiky haired man sat cross-legged on one of the orange chairs at B-21, and for a moment Nick's heart sky-rocketed, only to shatter again when he realized it wasn't Greg.

Now, as his hope diminished, he continued around the ring of gates, afraid he really was too late this time.

"Flight 207 to Arlington County, Virginia. Now boarding at Gate B-11. Flight 207, now boarding." A voice announced over the PA system, rattling off several other flights as well.

Virginia… "Greg…" Gate 11 was still further ahead, he hadn't passed it yet, apparently whomever designed the airport did it with the intent to confuse individuals who were on desperate hunts to find loved ones…

The area Greg was supposed to be in was quickly emptying, the passengers filing out to the plane, and again, he was praying he wasn't too late.

His eyes scanned the people remaining in the room, quickly passing over everyone. The line was rapidly growing shorter and shorter, he realized. Then he saw the curly hair he'd become so familiar with. He rushed over, almost tackling the younger man to the ground.

"You are not going anywhere." He sighed, his arms holding Greg tightly. Before the younger man could react at all, he pressed a soft kiss to his lips.

"Nicky…" Greg whimpered, pulling away slightly. "People are staring a us. I don't particularly care, but, I doubt security will dismiss the complaint." He tried to rationalize why Nick was here. The hours had ticked by yesterday, his hope slowing fading out when time ran out. Why hadn't Nick come sooner? Why now? He'd finally convinced himself he was better off this way…

The Texan nodded, blissfully unaware of the argument Greg's subconscious was currently debating. "Alright… alright, let's go…" He took Greg's hand, dragging him along.

They didn't speak again until they'd reached Nick's condo, the older man leading Greg up the stairs.

"So…" Nick found the floor suddenly very appealing. "You want some coffee?"

Greg nodded weakly, the idea of caffeine sounding like heaven after his sleepless night hoping Nick would show up. "Why didn't you come yesterday?" He cringed, the coffee pot shattering when it impacted the floor.

"I didn't see the email until this morning. I went to your apartment, I nearly gave myself a heart attack when you weren't there…" Nick admitted, gesturing the to the laptop that sat in front of Greg on the couch, tear stains on the front of it.

Greg opened his mouth to speak but the Texan cut him off. "I can't believe that you were really going to leave without telling any of us? You were going to just… disappear?"

"I… Nick…" A teary-eyed Greg wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt, opening his eyes to see the older man hovering just in front of him.

Nick questioned. "I'm not letting that happen." He grabbed Greg by the shoulders, and pulled him to his feet before walking them backwards until they hit the wall on the other side of the room.

A panic stricken look crossed the younger's face, but it was quickly replaced with one of shock when Nick's lips met his again, this one unlike the one in the airport was passionate and demanding, taking away the younger's breath. "Please, don't ever do that again. Don't ever leave."

"Give me a reason, Nicky." Greg replied, his arms wrapping around the Texans frame to keep himself steady. "Just give me one reason and I'm yours."

"I'll give you a reason." He trailed his kisses over Greg's neck and collarbone, his hands traveling to the edge of the neon orange button down shirt.

He shook his head. "Don't do this if you don't mean it."

"I mean it, Greggo." he whispered, working at the buttons, letting the fabric fall off of the younger's shoulders, still pinned against the wall. "Just… stay, you have to stay with me."

"Tell me why… I need to hear it, Nicky…"

Quickly catching on to what Greg wanted, he let his kisses journey back up, nibbling hungrily on the other's ear lobe. "I love you, too."

Greg peeled Nick's soaked t-shirt off, casting it to the ground with his own as skin contacted skin, the two of them as close as possible. "Thank you…" he whispered. "It took me four hours to write that e-mail, well, technically, almost 9 years…" he mumbled, the other's lips still attached to his neck and heading steadily lower.

Nick pulled back, his eyes locking with the younger's. "I don't think we should move this fast. Let's… let's not screw this up, let's take it slow, okay?" His hands rested against Greg's hips, his index fingers hooked through the belt loops.

He nodded, pulling the Texan over to the couch. "Is… this for real, Nicky?"

"Of course, I'd never use you like that."

Greg hung his head. "When you never showed up… I gave up. I really didn't think anyone cared about me…"

"You thought wrong." Nick whispered, pulling the other to rest against his chest. "I don't know what I would have done if you'd left." He pressed a soft kiss to the top of Greg's head, quickly rethinking his opinion of sitting on the couch.

He pulled Greg to his feet, leading him down the hallway. "What? What happened to taking it slow?"

Nick nuzzled against his neck, arms wrapped around the other's torso. "We are. I just… need to hold you. won't try anything… I promise."

"Okay." Greg flopped down on the bed, curling beneath the elder's arm, their hands tangled together.

"I take it you didn't sleep much last night?" He whispered, rubbing circles over the scars spider-webbing across Greg's back. The younger shook his head softly, eyes drifting slowly shut, relaxing in the feel of the arms he'd wanted to be in for almost a decade now.

"Sleep…" Greg groaned, pulling Nick's hand up to his lips, kissing his knuckles softly before snuggling closer to his love.

Nick smiled softly, running his free hand through the soft curls currently using his shoulder as a pillow. "It shouldn't have taken nine years, Greggo…" he murmured, drifting off to sleep some time after Greg had, watching the younger man slumber soundly in his arms. Where he should have been for so long.