If You Can't Stand the Heat… - Chapter Eight

Author's Notes: Thank you for all your reviews! There was one or two that particularly caught my attention. Even one that made me blush and smile.

TO FVHARDY: Heh heh. Guys don't always do it doggy style. I loved your review! I don't think I'll go into detail, but if you read some heavier slash, you can find out WAAAAY more than what you ever want to know is possible.

Disclaimer: Blah blah. Yadda yadda. Don't own. No sue.



When Greg regained consciousness, he found that he was sticky and sore in places that shouldn't be. He felt filthy and used.

A wave of memories crashed down on him and tears sprang to his eyes. He drew his knees to his chest, wincing at the pain the slight movement caused. He wrapped his unbound arms around them and hid his face. The sobs came quick and hard, along with thoughts of last night.

Was he all alone? Where was his mother? Was she even alive? Where was he, for that matter?

Greg looked at his surroundings for the first time, fighting back hiccupping sobs. He was in a small, dingy white room with one window. It kind of looked like a closet, except it had a window. An almost bare wooden door was directly opposite of it. There was a note tacked to the wood.

Slowly, cautiously, Greg got to his feet, wiping his eyes on a shirtsleeve. He moved towards it until he could touch the paper. He tore it off the tack and read it. Horror hit him.

"Tell anyone, and I will hunt you down.

Cheers,
Your friend"



"I went to the hospital alone. It wasn't a very far walk, but it…hurt. I had no idea how much time had passed, (I think it was a night) but there were other people from the bank. They hadn't managed to kill them all. There were still streaks of blood on the walls from some of the victims. The doctors hadn't had the time to clean a lot up yet.

"I remember one woman actually had to be restrained when the doctor told her that her husband was dead," Greg broke off, shuddering as his mind's eye pictured her writhing body on the gurney. He took a moment to collect himself and went on in a dead sort of voice. "After I was admitted, my mother was moved to my room. I found out that she'd been shot when she tried to stop them from taking me."

Nick listened hard, watching his friend's pale face contort with various emotions, shame being the most prominent one. He put a hand on Greg's knee and squeezed.

"Didn't you ever tell anyone?" he asked softly.

Greg shook his head.

"Not even my mom. I was eighteen, and I asked the doctors not to tell my mother. They honored the doctor/patient confidentiality," the lab tech let out a sigh. "You're the first I actually talked about it to. They got him on DNA charges from what he left on me, but they didn't tell him which victim the evidence was from, but he knew anyway. I didn't even participate in the trial. That was when I found out his name was Kent Kramer."

At the name, Greg stopped speaking and looked away from Nick, plucking at his blanket. He pulled his legs up onto the chair and sat Indian style.

"You just pretended nothing happened and willed it away, huh?" the Texan said in a knowing tone that caused Greg to turn back to Nick with a questioning expression.

"Yeah, me too," Nick sighed, replying to the younger man's unasked question.

"How old were you?"

"Nine."

When Nick answered, Greg seemed to explode in a fit of rage.

"What kind of bastard does that to a nine year old?! He demanded, his eyes blazed and for a moment, the lab tech was back to his old self.

"Greg, it takes a sick person to do anything like that to anyone, regardless of their age," Nick explained gently.

The younger man settled back into his chair, seeming deflated. His eyes suddenly welled up with tears. Greg swore quietly and rubbed them away with the corner of his blanket.

"He wasn't sick. He was right," he sniffed, hiding his face.

"What the hell do you mean, 'he was right'?" Nick demanded, outraged. "This sicko kidnapped you, and then tortured you! What the hell was he 'right' about?!"

Greg shrank back a little, away from the other man when he yelled, but didn't lift his head.

"He was right when he called me a fag," Greg admitted miserably. "Trey wasn't only my best friend. He was my boyfriend."

"So what? That doesn't mean he was ri--"

"He scared me so badly, I broke up with him the first and only time he visited me in the hospital. He… scared me straight, I guess."

Nick tried to get a look at his friend's face, but could see nothing.

"Greg…"

"Don't say it's okay, 'cause it's not," the lab tech muttered, finally looking up. "After that, Trey hated me because I couldn't give him a good enough reason why I didn't want to be with him."

Greg didn't voice the obvious hurt he still felt for his decision, but it was in his eyes clearly. They filled with tears again, and this time, Greg let them fall freely, weeping like a broken man.

"Come here," said Nick, overwhelmed. He wanted to cry with his friend, but held strong for him.

Obediently, Greg inched forward and slid to the floor next to Nick. He adjusted the blanket around his shoulders so it wasn't stretching so tight against his stitches.

Before Greg could protest, Nick pulled him closer and wrapped him up in a strong, safe hug, minding the injuries on the younger man's back.

Greg let himself be held. He still fought against the waves of grief crashing down on him, but was slowly drowning in them.

In the end, the young man broke down in silent sobs that had his injured body shaking violently. Though he didn't realize it at the time, his fear and anger were being washed away by his tears.

The entire time, Nick simply held the smaller man quietly, never saying a word, but letting him know he was safe. Nothing would happen while he was there. They stayed that way until Greg cried himself exhausted. Nick smiled when he felt Greg's breathing slow from sharp hiccups, to even, deep breaths.

The Texan shifted a little so he could stand, then picked up his friend bridal style. Nick was halfway through the hallway when he heard a sleepy grunt.

"Where we goin'?" Greg asked without opening his eyes. "And why do people insist on carrying me?"

"You're going to bed. And I'm carrying you because you're sleeping."

"Mm, I don' wanna go to bed," murmured Greg, unconsciously snuggling closer to Nick's strong chest.

"Yeah, ya do, cowboy," replied Nick with a smile. "You're tired."

"'m not tired."

"I know you're not," Nick humored him, setting the Greg down gently on the bed, "But you need to go to sleep anyway. You haven't had a good night's sleep since before the hospital."

Greg murmured something about nightmares and fire before rolling onto his side, one arm curling under his pillow, the other held close to his chest.

Nic tugged the sheets and blue(?) comforter out from underneath Greg's legs and drew them up over his shoulders. He was at the door when Greg called him back.

"Um, hey, Nick?" he asked, sounding more awake.

"Yep?"

The one in question turned around to look at the DNA tech. He was sitting up now, the blankets dropped to his waist, exposing his grey wife beater.

"Could you… I mean-- I wouldn't tell anyone if… And I understand completely if you say no."

In the nightlight's glow, Nick saw the younger man's green eyes drop and he rubbed one bare shoulder with his bandaged hand.

"C'mon, G, spit it out."

"Couldyousleepinherewithme?" asked Greg, so fast, it took a minute for Nick to process the question. So long, in fact, that Greg thought he'd mortally offended the other man. "You don't have to, it's okay. I mean, I understand. I know it'd be weird and all, sleeping in another guy's bed, I'd probably say no, too. You--"

"G, shut it!" Nick said, and Greg recoiled. "I swear, sometimes you talk so fast, I can't understand you!"

"But--"

"I get where you're coming from, so hush up and breath while I go get my pillow from the living room," the shadows his Nick's smile.

Slowly, Greg nodded, amazed at what had just transpired. He was easing himself back down onto his own pillow when Nick came back. Greg bit his lower lip when he sat down and the movement of the bed went straight through his sore, cramped shoulders.

They got themselves situated quickly and were silent for a while. It was Greg who broke it.

"You're sure you're okay with this?" he asked uncertainly.

"Yep, like I said, 'just like a sleepover but without--"

Nick was cut off by a pillow to the face.

"Oh, that was real cute, Greg," Nick growled, smiling as he tossed the pillow back in front of the lab tech. "You got change comin' for that one."

"Go to sleep, Nick," Greg yawned to hide a smile of his own. He ran a hand through his hair and adjusted his feather-filled weapon

In a matter of minutes, the young lab rat was fast asleep, followed closely by the Texan. And for the first time in weeks, Greg had no nightmares.


FINIS

This is the last installment, but there might be a sequel if you want. (If I want, which I might. Closure issues and all that jazz… Whatever happened to Kramer and all that. No worried though.)