A/N: The credit for this one goes to Sara's Girl over at The Fort. Worship her! She is awesome! I hope you all like!
Also, dedicated to all my peeps over at The Fort who are all hoping for a nice, slashy end to the show. This is going to play out like the last episode. Grissom is retiring and Warrick is stepping up to take the position of night shift supervisor. Sara has come back after a year of being MIA to pick back up with Grissom. Catherine is moving to Swing, and Greg is getting promoted to CSI: level three. So, yeah, it's a little confuzzling! Hehe…I love that word…confuzzling…okay, back to topic. The only reason why I picked Warrick to step up instead of Nick, is because my mom and I where talking about this, and we both decided that It would be great to see Warrick (Whose mentor is Grissom and all that crap) step up and take Grissom's place. Nicky is staying right where he is, because I couldn't imagine him as anything else! Uh…Yup, I think that's it! I hope you read this, because the story makes no sense if you didn't!
Disclaimer: Personally, just so you know, I think these things are the most annoying things on the face of the planet! But, here goes. I do not own anything pertaining to or dealing with Bruckheimer productions, CSI…
Last Time its Ever Gonna Be like this
"Well, I propose a toast to a great rest of life," Catherine said, raising her glass to the rest of the people gathered around the table.
Everyone smiled and rose their glasses in return. Nick and Warrick guzzled their drinks down, while everyone else took several long droughts from their drinks and set them back down at the table.
"So, Greg, how's it feel to be a CSI: level three?" Nick asked, swinging his arm around the younger man's shoulders.
"Cool," Greg said. "Very cool."
"You're so technical," Sara observed.
"I'm too busy basking in glory to think of any big words right now," Greg responded through a grin.
"Aren't you just the glory hog tonight?" Nick asked him.
"Oh, and proud to be," Greg replied.
Everyone laughed and drank, reminiscing about the last ten years and how they had all gotten through it.
"This is the last time it's ever gonna be like this…" Sara mumbled.
"So not!" Greg exclaimed. "I mean, yeah, sure Cath is going to Swing, and Griss is leaving, but, seriously, Sara, you really don't think we're gonna see each other?"
"Well," Sara said. "There might be a flaw there."
"What might that be?" Warrick asked. His voice had sobered somewhat, but you could still see the laughter in his eyes.
"Well," Sara said. "Uhm...Well, do you want to explain?"
Grissom gave a curt little nod. "Well, everyone, I got a job teaching forensic science courses at Harvard."
Catherine clapped. "Well, that's wonderful for you."
Warrick, Nick, and Greg all nodded their agreement.
"We're moving to Boston at the end of the week," Sara whispered.
Everyone in the room's jaws dropped all at the same time. Greg's eyes bugged out of his head.
"Huh?" Greg asked.
"We're moving to Boston, Greg," Sara said.
"Harvard's in Boston," Nick reminded him.
"I know," Greg replied. He hung his head. "I guess I understand. I'm gonna miss ya. Even Grissom."
Sara smiled. "We'll try to come out and do something like this once every year, okay?"
"What's going on?" Lindsey asked as she entered from the kitchen. "It's suddenly turning into a funeral in here."
Catherine smiled at her daughter. "Nothing, sweetheart…um…snack mix, anyone?"
Catherine forced the bowl of Chex Party Mix on Greg, who took a handful and flicked a little pretzel-like thing in his mouth. He thought long and hard. Sara was leaving, again! He just got his friend back, and he was losing her again? God…he was headed towards a cruel fate, that was for sure…
Several beepers went off simultaneously. Catherine mumbled something that sounds like, "If I get called in, I'm gonna murder someone…"
"It's me," Nick said at the same time as Greg.
"Me too," Warrick added. He looked across the table, situated at which was the remainder of what was now his team. "Greg, ready for your first case as a CSI three?"
Greg nodded. "You ready for your first case as supervisor?"
Warrick grinned and gave a small nod. "Off to the daily grind."
--(Who are you? Who, Who? Who, who?)
Nick, Greg, and Warrick arrived at the scene twenty minutes later. They were greeted by Jim Brass. They all smiled, waving at the detective. No matter how much their department had been through, Jim Brass had always been a constant. A friendly face that they could all look forward to seeing.
"What have we got, Brass?" Warrick asked.
"You know, it's weird to think of you as my superior?" Brass asked. "I can still remember the first time you ever set foot in that lab. You where singing some sorta Christmas song under your breath and kept calling everyone "man". You where a real geek, Brown."
Warrick rolled his eyes. "Just brief us, Brass."
Brass gave an amused grin, before beginning to read off his notes. "Well…a couple of teenagers where out here around nine o'clock. Skipping curfew or some dumb shit that we all used to do. Well, they decided to go down this path over there. And found the body of a young Caucasian man."
Warrick nodded. "Down that path?"
"Follow the yellow brick road," Brass replied with a jab in the right direction.
"Thanks, man," Warrick said, before leading his two CSI's down a steep incline and to the foot of the hill the road above was situated on.
"Hmm…" Greg muttered, taking a picture. "First impressions?"
"Body dump," Warrick replied.
"Not the primary crime scene," Nick added, getting out his Mag flashlight and shining it along the stick-and-vegetation covered earth.
If Grissom was there, Nick knew he'd be terrified of this exchanging of ideas before any evidence was uncovered, but different people have different styles of investigation.
"Doesn't look like David's been here yet," Greg observed, noticing the absence of the white morgue truck.
"Give us more time," Nick replied with a shrug.
Greg leaned down next to the body, shinning his flashlight in both the victim's eyes. "No signs of poetical hemorrhaging."
"Asphyxia's out," Nick said.
Then, the young man's body did something that dead bodies most certainly aren't supposed to do; he blinked.
"Uh…guys!" Greg muttered.
"Yeah Greggo?" Nick asked while kneeling down to put something into a little evidence baggie. "Red fiber." He added.
"He just blinked."
"The dad guy."
Nick chuckled. "Greg…have you gotten enough sleep lately? Dead people don't blink."
"Yeah, they don't sweat, either!" Greg cried, suddenly realizing that the victim was burning up. "Mother Mary, I think he's alive!"
"What?!" Nick cried, coming forward. "Jesus, you're right!"
"Medic! We need a medic over here, A-SAP!" Warrick yelled over his shoulder.
"Oh, man, his pulse is really weak!" Greg murmured. "Sir, can you hear me?!"
"He's conscious, but just barely," Greg said. "Where are those thrice-damned EMT's?"
"Sir, could you tell me your name?" Warrick asked.
"Ill-am…" the young man replied.
"What was that? William?" Greg asked.
The victim nodded.
"Don't worry, William."
"Get out of our way!
Several EMT's rushed through the trees and over to the congregated men, whom in turn flew out of the way to get out of their way.
Greg winced as he stared at the ground that the EMT's were treading upon. All he could envision was evidence being crushed by the men's weight. Evidence…destroy…
"Their demolishing all our evidence!" Greg growled to an equally upset Nick. "The guy may not be dead, but this is still a crime scene!"
"I know, Greg, I know," Nick, patting his shoulder. "But, I guess keeping the victim alive is more important than evidence, right now."
Greg grumbled something incoherent. It took the paramedics several minutes to get the victim, whose name was apparently William, strapped to a gurney and removed from the wooded area. Greg was still grumbling as he stepped forward. "Look at that, that's just great…fucking great… Now we're going to have to lift all these footprints and confiscate all of those paramedic's boots, which you know as well as I do will be an uphill battle… "
"So, we all agree that we're damning the paramedics to the depths of hell?" Warrick asked, staring their now ruined crime scene with an air of graveness.
"Here, here," Greg growled as he pulled the bag of white colloid out of his kit and punched at it to loosen it up. "I hate paramedics. Their all no-good, low-life-"
"Not all paramedics are Hank Pettigrew," Warrick reminded Greg.
"And now you bring him up," Greg said. "I mean, Sara was really falling apart over that! You know how hard it is to convince Sara Sidle that, yes; someone will definitely want to date her from real someday?"
"As hard as trying to convince her of anything else, I suppose?" Warrick asked.
"Now, that was evil, but yes," Greg said as he poured the colloid into the print. "Nicky, fill that one over there."
"Who died and made you boss?" Nick asked, taking the colloid from Greg's hands.
"Warrick isn't dead," Greg said. "I'm just cooler than you."
Nick chuckled and swatted Greg in the head.
They worked into the early hours of the morning and it was around five o'clock that Brass came trudging back down the hill. "Hey, CSI guys."
"Hey, Brass," Warrick said as he gathered his kit. "We're all most done here, I'm just waiting for the last print to dry and he can lift and bag it. And Sanders is wasting his time digging in bushes, Greg, come on man, what are you doing over there?"
"Looking for a murder weapon, and, hey, look at that," Greg said, rising from out of the bush where he was conducting a search for missed evidence. "The Greg man provides."
"Hey, nice catch, G," Nick said. "Tag and bag it, man."
Greg nodded. While he was bending over his kit, he spoke through his legs to Nick. "You know, I'm not a CSI one anymore, you can stop directing me on what to do. I believe I made level three even faster than you did, dear Nicky."
"And stop staring at my ass, man," Greg said. "I know it's awesome, but come on!"
Nick blushed and Warrick, whom was the only one who could see it, burst into laughter. "Wow, great impression of a tomato, Nick!"
"Shut up," Nick growled.
"Well, I'm ready to go," Greg resurfaced from fiddling with his kit.
"You know, it's hard not to stare at your ass, it's such a big target," Nick said, following Warrick and Greg as they walked. "You could land a clucking plane on that thing."
"Yup, and you're just a knuckled headed Texas cowboy, ain't ya?" Greg asked.
"Sure, that's a title I'm proud to have."
"Sure, Nicky, sure."
-- (Commercial Break.)
Warrick walked through the halls of CSI. It was mid-morning. He was pulling a double along with Nick and Greg to try to solve their case soon. He came across what used to be the Swing shift supervisor's office. Said supervisor had retired last month after forty-three years of servicing the department. What he came across now was a blond standing in to small office. A very familiar blond.
"Arranging your new office?" Warrick asked. "Or checkin' out he new digs?"
"Cleaning," Catherine's slightly husky voice answered. "This office was unsanitary, Warrick. Do you even want to know what I found in that storage cabinet?"
"So, you've been spraying Febreze and Lysol in here?" Warrick asked.
"And Oust, and Glade," Catherine added. "And it should be smelling like a fruit salad anytime now."
"Right," Warrick said. "More unsanitary than Lindsay's room?"
"A lot more."
Warrick pulled her flush against his chest and wrapped his arms around her waist. "So…you're gonna be like Griss, eh? Get a whole lotta books in here, and make this like a second home?"
"Well…not about bugs, never about bugs, but, I guess that'd be nice," she thought for a moment. "I mean… If you and Lindsay aren't there…It's not really home, but I'm going to be spending so much time here, might as well make it half-livable.
"What're you gonna do with your office?" Catherine asked.
"Easy," Warrick said. "I'm gonna use it as a place to put all those long-lost school-made things Lindsay made for me when she was little."
"She'll be thrilled," Catherine chuckled. "Eight years after the fact and you still have those things, huh?"
"Sure," Warrick said. "I still have that pot she made in sixth grade, and the picture from forth. Also the weird little thing she made in nature class in fifth."
"It was a bird house."
"It was a wheel barrel."
Catherine snorted. "I'm insulted on my daughter's behalf."
"Seriously, though," Warrick said. "I'm sorry, Cath, but no self-respecting bird would live in a house with no roof."
Catherine chuckled. "I know."
Warrick heard foot steps coming down the hall. He pulled away from Catherine a bit, but then realized that it was only Nick. "Hey, boss, sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say that the victim is awake, and that Greg and I are headed over to Desert Palm."
Warrick nodded. Nick exited. The full extent of Nick's word suddenly reached him and he yelled down the hall, "Stokes! Don't call me boss!"
You could hear Nick's roaring laughter from half-way down the hall.
Nick and Greg made it to Desert Palm just as their second shift of the day would have ended. It was obvious the day was going to be a lot longer than planned. Greg yawned while they walked through the sliding doors and stretched his limbs out to their full extent.
"Tired, man," he told Nick. "Not even funny, dude."
Nick smiled and patted Greg's shoulder. "Don't worry…this day will be over soon enough."
"Sure hope so," Greg agreed around a yawn. The two male CSI's strode up to the nurse's station and Greg set his arms down on the counter. "Hello, could you tell us the room that William Morrison is staying in?"
"Are you family?" the nurse asked, examining Greg over the rim of her half-moon eyeglasses.
"Members of interest," Greg said, holding up his ID. "Greg Sanders, LVPD crime lab, this is my partner, Nick Stokes. Mr. Morrison is a victim in an attempted murder. And, ma'am, I'm going on my thirtieth hour of no sleep, please, don't argue with me." He added this last part after she opened her mouth in a would-be retort.
"Room 415," she grumbled at him, shaking her head at him in a way that said, "You people, today…". "Down the hall and to your left."
Greg nodded. "Thank you for your cooperation, ma'am."
Greg set off down the hall, confident that Nick would know to follow behind. He ran a hand through his hair, all the way down his chest, and curve around his hip. It came to rest at the back pocket of his jeans, into which he tucked it securely. He almost passed up the room, but quickly stopped and did a sharp turn into the room, and tried to make it look like he, "Meant to do that.". But by the chuckling going on behind him, Nick knew.
Greg stopped at the threshold of the room. There was a new fixture in the room that most certainly hadn't been there the day (Night?) before. Their victim was sat on the hospital bed, chatting with the new person. It was obvious that he was awake, which was a good thing, but both of them had yet to notice the two investigators in the room. Greg was first to make their presence known.
"William Morrison?" Greg asked. Well…that was a major duh…
William's head turn towards Greg and Nick. Now that Greg got the full blow of his features, he realized the victim was very young. Probably in his late teens to very early twenties. He was too young to be a man, too old to be a boy.
"Who wants to know?" he asked.
"The LVPD crime lab," Nick replied from behind Greg. "I'm Nick Stokes, that's my partner, Greg Sanders."
"Oh," he said. He sat further up in his bed. "I suppose you want to ask me some questions?"
Greg nodded. Nick's head swiveled towards the young man sitting next to William's bed. Brother, maybe?"
"Who are you?" Nick asked him.
"Oh, sorry, I'm Brian," he said, holding out his hand to Nick, who shook it.
"Brother?" Greg asked as he did the same thing.
"Uh, boyfriend," Brian said, ducking his head.
Greg nodded. "So, William, what happened?"
William blinked at Greg. "Well…I don't exactly remember…"
"Try," Greg asked of him.
"I was driving home," William began. "And…I think I must have run over something, because I stopped my car…and then and was being dragged across the road…no idea what that was about."
Greg stared at him. "Can you describe them?"
"There where a lot of them…" William said. "But…they all seemed to be wearing something to cover their heads. Hoods or hats or something."
"Who would want to hurt you, William?" Nick asked.
"With all due respect, Mr. Stokes," Brian said. "That's a kind of stupid question. William and I are gay…there are lots of people who would think of it as a Godly deed to kill us."
Nick nodded. "I understand…um…"
"Nick," Greg said, dragging Nick out of the room. "What if this is like that group of gang bangers from a couple of years ago?"
"Greg, we arrested half those goons," Nick said.
"I'm not talking about the same group, people who are trying to copy them," Greg said. "A group who targets, not tourists, but homosexuals?"
"Greg…that theory is pretty good…I think we should run with it," Nick said. "But, we need to talk to those two a bit more."
Greg nodded and preceded Nick into the room.
"…So, Greg and I where thinking, "What if it's like that group from a couple of years ago?" Nick told Warrick.
"You mean the ones who liked to beat up on tourists? What'd they call it…fanny smacking?"
"Something like that, yeah," Nick said. "But, we're thinking these guys are copying them."
"What? Like those fake Mafia groups that started popping up in the fifty's?"
Nick nodded. "Exactly."
"Okay, so, what are you and Sanders doing now?" Warrick asked.
"Well, Greg and I have been running with the lead and have uncovered a possible leader of this homophobic-gangster group. We tested the murder weapon Greg found and found the DNA of an Austin Connors on it." Nick said. "Man, Greg's been a CSI for almost three years, now. Have some respect."
"Old habits die hard, man," Warrick said.
"Yeah, well, please, try to kill that one," Nick said. "I'll get back to ya when Greg and I are back from the suspect's residence."
Warrick nodded. "I'll get the witness report to Griss – myself."
Nick nodded and turned around. He found himself dropping deep into thought as he took his long-legged strides down the halls of early morning CSI. This team truly wasn't going to be the same after Grissom and Sara left. He passed Wendy about halfway out of the building. After news had gotten around that the team would need another CSI, what with the absence of Warrick, Wendy had been one of the first the sign up. She had immediately been accepted and has recently passed her second proficiency.
"Hi, Nick," Wendy said. Nick smiled at her.
"The life of a CSI isn't an easy one, 'eh, Simms?" Nick said.
Wendy stuck her tongue out at the Texan. "Can it, Stokes."
"Hey, it's not my fault that you decided to pull a Greg," Nick said.
"And that sounds wrong on so many levels," Wendy said.
Nick looked confused for a second, then opened his mouth and shut it again. "Oh…you have a dirty mind, Wendy."
Wendy giggled, and walked further down the hall.
Nick shook his head and kept walking, finally coming to a halt where Greg stood, leaning against a wall, one foot positioned near his butt against the wall, arms crossed, staring ahead.
"You look deep in thought," Nick joked. "Does it hurt?"
"I could ask the same question of you, Stokes," Greg said, pushing himself off the wall and standing on his own two feet. "I've pulled a triple. I was trying to fall asleep on my feet."
"We've got a twenty minute drive out to Henderson," Nick said. "You can nap in the car."
"What's the point?" Greg asked as they walked through the parking lot. "You'll just wake me up, won't you?"
"Well…I could leave you in the car and leave you to die in the heat of summer in Las Vegas," Nick suggested.
"Up your's," Greg growled.
Nick shook his head, smiling and guided Greg out the door. "I can walk, thank you very much."
"You can stop hanging off me any time, Greggo."
"Okay, maybe I'm having a little trouble walking."
Greg got on his own two feet and hurried across the parking lot and into Nick's car. He was asleep before Nick got in, himself.
"If the apocalypse in not upon us, you'll do well to let me sleep."
"Greg, we're at the suspect's house. You can sleep when you get home."
"I hate you," Greg growled at him, before getting up and hauling himself out of the car. They hurried up the walk, and Greg found himself doing the honors of knocking on the door. "LVPD! Open up, Mr. Connors!"
No answer. Not even any signs of activity behind the closed curtains.
"Mr. Connors!" Greg yelled at the door. He knocked on the door again, and it swung open. Greg looked behind him at Nick. The older CSI nodded his head, which Greg took to mean as, "Go on."
Greg entered, his gun held at his hip. "Mr. Connors…are you home?"
They looked around the place. It was a mess. Greg was sure he saw several different types of bugs scurry across the floor, and could smell the distinctive smell of rotting food from the kitchen area. And, the power bill must not have been paid in a while, because Nick tried the light several times, and there wasn't even a flicker of light. To round it off, most everything was covered in layer if dust, except for the track Greg had made with his sneakers walking into the house. It was quite obvious no one had lived here in quite a few weeks.
"Yeah Warrick, no one's here," Nick told the man on the other end. "So, either, he must be staying with a friend, or gotten the hell outta dodge."
"Yeah, so, we're outta leads?"
"Until someone finds this guy, yeah," Nick replied. "So, Greg and I will be back at the lab in a little while."
"Nah, man, it's okay," Warrick said. "You guys have worked a triple…make that a quad. Go home. Day shift is slow today, I'll see if I can convince Ecklie to let me borrow a couple of his CSI's."
"Man, if Grissom's going, Ecklie should, too," Nick said.
"Ecklie is going to be around until we have to haul his dead body from his office," Warrick said.
"Got it right, there," Nick agreed. "Well, I've got to make sure that Greg hasn't passed out from exhaustion."
"You do that," Warrick said, before Nick clapped his phone shut and he wandered over to the passenger's side seat of the Denali, where Greg sat, inches from sleep.
"Uhhh!" Greg groaned. "You just refuse to let me sleep, don't you?"
"Keep your panties on," Nick said. "We can go home."
"I'll drive ya home."
"You do that. I'll just pass out thank you very much."
Nick smiled and patted Greg's head, before closing the door and walking around to the passenger's side.
Nick reaching into his fridge and pulled out the two-liter of Pepsi out. He grumbled something about lazy-assed something's as he walking over to the cupboard and pulled out two cups. He poured the sugary drink into them until the foam reached the rim of the glass. He proceeded to cap the bottle and get it back in the cooling appliance.
"Get your own soda next time," Nick said, handing the lazy-ass on his couch his cup of beverage.
"I have a problem," Greg replied. "It's hard for me to move."
"I'm tired. And I need to soda to keep me wired," Greg said.
"Maybe I should take this away…" Nick said, reaching for the cup.
"No!" Greg said, hiding his cup from Nick.
"So, if you're so tired, then why are you over here?" Nick asked.
"What? You don't want to see me?" Greg asked.
"You're just so lazy," Nick said affectionately.
"I'm serious," Greg commented, laying his head in Nick's lap. "I mean, you remember when you had to do the mile run in gym class, and your legs hurt and you slept for like two days afterwards?"
"Yeah, I remember," Nick said. He lifted his hand up, and for a second, it looked like he was about to push Greg's head out of his lap. But, then he positioned in on Greg's head and tangled his fingers in the brown-blond locks.
Greg closed his eyes and sighed contently. "I'm gonna fall asleep, now."
Nick smiled and leaned down. Greg met him half-way and engaged him in an awkward bent-backwards kiss.
"You do that, Greggo," Nick said.
"Love you, Nick," Greg whispered, before he fell asleep.
Try as he might, Nick couldn't get the words to roll off his tongue. "You too, Greg." What was wrong with him?
Conrad Ecklie was someone everyone had learned to avoid when mad. Which he was now. He had a murderous look on his face, one that alerted everyone within five miles of impending explosion. He stormed into A/V where Nick sat with Archie Johnson. They had been here for the better part of an hour, reviewing some traffic tapes from the intersection about half-way down the road from where their victim had been found.
"Ecklie," Nick replied.
"Do you want to know what I just heard?" Ecklie asked.
"Do I?" Nick asked.
"Take a wild guess!" Ecklie stormed.
"I don't know, Ecklie," Nick said. "Are purple Martians about to take over Las Vegas?"
"No," Ecklie growled. "I heard from Hodges, who over heard a conversation between Jacqui and Wendy, that you and Sanders have something going on."
Nick gaped at the lab director. "Ecklie, that's a rumor!"
"Really, Stokes?" Ecklie asked. "All the touching the flirting? That's a rumor? An act? You two are damn good actors."
"Ecklie, listen," Nick said. "I have idea where you heard that fucked up story, but there is nothing on. Greg is nothing more to me than a minor annoyance and a lost puppy who likes to hang on me. Seriously, man. Nothing. I couldn't live with him, much less date him."
Ecklie glared. "I'm watching you both." And stormed back out.
A chocking sob was heard from behind Nick, and he turn just in time to see a blur of blondish-brown speed down the hall. He turn back to Archie, who was shaking his head dolefully at him. Dear god, what had he done?
"Man, that wasn't right," Archie said. "Not right by a long shot."
"Don't you think I know that?" Nick asked.
"Then why'd you do that?" Archie asked.
"I don't know," Nick replied, lamely.
"You going to apologize?" Archie asked.
"Yes," Nick replied, walking out. But was quickly intercepted by Warrick.
"So, what's going on with your case?"
Nick grumbled in frustration. "Archie and I where looking at the video tapes of the intersection about a mile away from the sight of the attack. We saw two black minivans go down the road after the victim's Ford. We are sure it was a gang bang, but now we have to find the leader. Or, the members of the group.
"Okay," Warrick. "But, can I ask you why you look like you want to attack someone?"
"Ecklie," was Nick's simple reply.
Nick knew exactly where Greg was. Where he always went when he was upset. He hurried to the front door of Greg's apartment to see two duffel bags full of stuff slumped against to opposite wall. It looked like they had been tossed out of the door.
"Greg," Nick said, using the key Greg had given him when they had started seriously dating. "Greg?"
"Go away." A voice emanated from the living room.
"Greg…" Nick said.
The pitiful form that he could recognize as his boyfriend was lying on his couch, staring strait ahead at the wall. The blinds were pulled closed and every light in the apartment was off, creating a fake night-like surrounding.
"Nick, just go away, please," Greg said, his voice husky with tears. "Please." He added.
"Your stuff if outside," Greg said. "Take it with you, don't come back."
"You said you couldn't live with me," Greg said. "You don't."
"Come on, G…"
"You said you couldn't date me, you don't, anymore," Greg said, tears cascading down his face, to pool below his head and be soaked up by the fabric of the sofa.
"Greg…" Nick said, close to tears himself. "I'm sorry-"
"Save it, Nick, please," Greg said. "I don't need to hear it. I know exactly how much I mean to you. It isn't a lot."
"Greg, you mean a lot to me," Nick said.
"You can say that till your face turns blue, but I heard what you said," Greg said, getting off the couch. "I heard everything, Nick. I know that I'm nothing more than I was four years ago. In your eyes, anyway. I'm nothing but a rookie CSI, ex labrat, nothing. Right?"
Every word seemed to punch Nick in the face.
"I'm moving to swing," Greg said. "To Catherine's team. She needs a CSI three, and I'm newly open, aren't I? You, Warrick and Wendy will get along just fine on your own. You don't need a lost puppy hanging on you, do you?"
"Greg, don't do this to me, please," Nick begged.
"No, Nick, don't you do this to me," Greg said. "Get out, don't come back."
Nick sighed, defeated. He turned away.
"My house key, please," Greg said.
Nick turned back around, took Greg's key off his chain, and held it out to him.
"Just leave it on the table," Greg said, turning his back on his ex-boyfriend and hugging himself. If he watched, he might not let Nick leave.
Nick did as Greg commanded, and turn back around, every step taken a very painful one. "Bye."
Greg said nothing as Nick closed the door, and his apartment was plunged into pseudo-darkness again.
"You look like shit, man," Warrick commented as Nick came in the next day.
Nick rolled his eyes. "Thanks, man."
"Did you know that Sanders had been transferred to Catherine's team?"
Nick nodded. "Yeah."
"Well, he was a good CSI. We're gonna miss him," Warrick said. "Hey, Wendy passed her third proficiency."
"That's great," Nick said, cracking a small smile.
"We're going out after shift for beers, you coming?"
"Yeah, sure," Nick said. Anything to get his mind off Greg.
"Oh, and uh, there's someone here that says he had something to do with the case," Warrick said.
"Yeah?" Nick asked.
"Yeah, uh…he's over this way…"
Warrick lead him towards one of the many waiting rooms in the building. Nick immediately recognized the young man. It was Brian, their the victim's boyfriend.
"Mr. Stokes," Brian said, standing up. "I'm sorry to inconvenience you…"
"You're not inconveniencing anyone, Brian," Nick assured the young man.
Brian nodded. "I got this in the mail this morning." Brian held out a piece of paper. It proclaimed quite clearly, "You're next."
"Brian, why don't you set that on the table right there," Warrick said, pointing at the coffee table the department had place in the middle of the waiting room.
Brian nodded and set the note down. Nick pulled out a rubber glove and picked it up. Warrick put a pair on and took it from Nick. "I'll get this to Mandy."
Nick nodded. "How's William doing?"
"Still in the hospital…" Brian said. "Uh…what do these people want from us?"
"Some people will do crazy things, for no reason, Brian," Nick said. "Sometimes, it's random…for you and William, I'm sorry to say it because you're not normal. Well, they don't consider you normal. You're gay. That's as abnormal as it gets in some people's eyes.
Brian shrugged. "You can't help who you love."
Nick nodded. But, the true extent of those words reached him and he found himself thinking about it. "You can't help who you love…"
Yeah. So what if Nick loved an other man? That was it. He loved Greg; had for a long time. But, was too uncomfortable with his sexuality to admit it. But now, oh, now he was ready to admit it. He was ready to shout it from the highest area in Las Vegas. He'd get Greg back, one way or another, and prove, once and for all, that he loved him.
But, he was pulled out of his thoughts of confession when Warrick rushed back in. "We got a hit in AFIS. This guy musta been on the top of the pile, or something. But, we've got an address, different than the one we got from CODIS; let's hope it's the right one."
Nick nodded, and followed Warrick out the door.
Catherine had come in early that day. It was her first day as Swing shift supervisor, and she was nervous about meeting her new team. There would at least be one familiar face. Greg had decided to switch at the last minute. His reasons for this where, as of yet, confidential.
Until today, when she walked in on Greg, hunched over on the bench that went between to rows of lockers. He was sobbing, and Catherine's motherly instincts took over, and she rushed over to her younger CSI, wrapping her arms around him. "Greg…what's wrong?"
"Nothing," the young man sobbed.
"Then why are you crying?" Catherine asked.
"Oh, Catherine!" Greg cried. "He doesn't want me! I thought he loved me…"
"Who, Greg, who?" Catherine asked. However, she knew before he even told her.
"Nick!" he cried. "Nick! He left me! Well…I kinda kicked him out, but that's beside the point! You would have kicked him out, too!"
"Greg, what happened?" Catherine asked.
Greg proceeded to tell Catherine the whole story.
"Why…that…he…" Catherine was outraged.
"Don't bother, Cath," Greg said, sounding thoroughly miserable. "He doesn't care about me, anymore."
"Greg, that's not true!" Catherine cried. "He…Ecklie…" she growled. "Nick doesn't like being put under pressure, you know that probably better than I do. He's bound to react badly when put on the spot…"
"He didn't even try to apologize…" Greg mumbled.
"Did you give him a chance?" Catherine asked.
"No…" Greg said.
"I'm not blaming you," Catherine said. "What he said was wrong…but aloe forgiveness, okay?"
Greg nodded. He quickly rose from the bench and hugged Catherine. "Thanks, Cath. Now, I have myself a cowboy to find."
Warrick and Nick decided to pull their guns the second they pulled up to the house. It was in that part of town that could only be described as, "The ghetto." It was certainly not someplace a member of law enforcement like themselves would want to be wandering with no visible weapons on them. Brass had come along with them, along with several beat cops as backup.
Nick hurried up the walk and banged on the door. "LVPD! Open up!"
Nick listened closely and could have sworn he heard someone curse, "Shit!" from inside.
"Mr. Connors, it would be in your best interest to open this door!" Brass yelled at the door.
Nick looked around in time to see Warrick in hot pursuit of atleast four people who had sprinted from the back door and through the back yard. He quickly followed, Brass and the beat cops hot on his and Warrick's trail. Ahead, Warrick tackled one of them to the ground. Nick was next to land one of the suspects, bringing him crashing to the ground with all his weight.
"Where're you going, huh?" Nick asked, handcuffing him. "What's your hurry?"
"Get off me, man!" he yelled. "Damn!"
"You're under arrest for the attempted murder of William Morrison."
"I didn't do anything! What are you talking about? Come on! Let me gooooooo!"
Nick shook his head. This wasn't the leader of the group. He was only a kid, but judging by the outraged yells emitting from behind him, Warrick had the leader.
"Austin Connors?" Warrick asked, picking the man off the ground.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's my name," he replied. "Don't where it out. What the hell are you doing?"
"You're under arrest for the attempted murder of William Morrison and the assault of Brain Casey." (1)
"Those two?" he asked. "Damn, their better dead. You're saying he's still alive, too? Son of a bitch…faggot must have God lookin' out for him, after all."
"Hey!" Warrick said, shaking the man semi-violently. "Can it, sparky."
All together, there where six of them. Nick had a theory that half of them where underage. Three cop cars, one round of confessing, and four border-line headaches later, and Nick sat with Warrick in the break room, a water bottle and aspirin in his hands.
"Cath's in early," Warrick commented as said blond went past them towards the locker rooms. "Tonight's he first night. Hopefully it'll be a little easier with Greg on the team with her.
Nick suddenly remembered the vow he had made to himself earlier and got up, dry-swallowing his aspirin and gulping some water before rushing out.
"Something I said?" Warrick asked the empty room.
In his progress down the hall, Nick passed Grissom and Sara. He was surprised to see his former co-worker and supervisor in the halls of CSI.
"Grissom, Sara, what are you guys doing here?" he asked.
"Just making sure we having everything out of my office," Grissom said. "Warrick tells me he'll be sending any bugs I leave behind on a one-way trip six-feet-under, so I'm making sure everything is out."
Nick nodded. "Cool. You seen Greg?"
"Isn't he on swing with Catherine now?" Sara asked.
Nick nodded. "Yeah…but I really need to find him. I've been an ass."
Sara furrowed her brows at him. "Sorry, Nicky, but I haven't seen him."
Nick nodded. "That's okay…I'll find him myself…"
Begging of day. His first day of not being on night shift in five years. But, being on a team with Catherine wouldn't be that bad. Maybe she would let him boss around the rookies…
He shook his head at that thought. He knew what it was like to be treated as a rookie. He would treat them as equals.
A voice came over the intercom. "Greg Sanders, if you are in the building, please report to the front desk, you have a message."
"Okay…" Greg muttered. He put on his CSI vest and walked into the reception area. "What's up, Judie?"
Judie looked up and smiled. "Turn around." She commanded. Greg looked at her like she was slightly insane, but did as told despite that fact. He blinked. Nick Stokes stood before him.
"Yes?" Greg asked, crossed his arms.
"I'm ready to commit myself to you," Nick said.
"That's nice," Greg replied.
Nick walked up to Greg, setting his hand on the younger investigator's shoulder. When Greg didn't pull away, he let his hand travel to Greg's cheek, and touched it with the pad of his thumb. "I love you, Greg, I really do."
Greg shook his head. "I want to believe you, Nick, but I'm not sure I can."
Nick smiled, leaned in, and kissed Greg full on the mouth.
Greg was so shocked he didn't move for the longest time. Nick never kissed him at work. Never. And, what's more, they where in a crowded hallway, in the presence of the, quite literally, whole department. He hear murmurs from behind of him, as well as in front of him. He also saw several people bump into each other in the seconds before his eyes fluttered shut, and he started to kiss Nick back.
He slowly uncrossed his arms and let them travel over Nick's chest, before winding them around Nick's next. Tears fell from his eyes. Nick really did love him. Wow…
Nick pulled away. "That prove it to you?"
Greg nodded, tears of happiness still falling. "Yeah, yeah, it does." And leaned in again.
In the circles I've been running,
I've covered many miles,
And I could search forever for what's right before my eyes,
Just when I thought I'd found it,
It was nothing like I'd planned,
Sara and Grissom where leaving for Boston today. It was sad, but also happy. Sara had commanded of everyone to have a good time, and not dwell on the coming months.
It had been a long road for all of them. But, they all had faced their ghosts, and had their own posts to lean on, and their own support group. Warrick and Catherine had each other, and so did Grissom and Sara, and Nick and Greg.
Greg threw Hank's bone for him, and the boxer went shooting across the lawn the get it.
When I got my heart around it, it slipped right through my hands,
Here with you I feel it,
I close my eyes and see it,
Nick came up behind him, wrapping his arms around him and kissing his neck. He leaned into his for a minutes, before smiling at Nick and running after Hank, trying to convince the dog to give the bone back so he could throw it again.
Catherine admitted it was hard to see her best friend of almost twenty years leave. But, Warrick was always he rock to stand on when the tide got high, and this was no different. She had to admit that she would even miss the brunette whom she had butted heads with so many times over the years.
She currently sat; legs crossed on the ground, watching with amusement at Greg tried to get Hank's rope bone away from him. Warrick soon appeared next to her, and sat down, grabbing her hand and intertwining their fingers.
Sara would miss this place. Nick, Warrick, Catherine, Greg, all of them. She was going across the country. But, then again, she'd go to the ends of Earth for Gil. And Boston wouldn't be so bad. Neither would return to the halls of Harvard, where she had first met and learned from the scientist she was so infatuated with.
In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss,
When I'm in your arms, that's where it is,
When we're tangled up and can't resist,
When we feel that rush, that's where it is,
That's where it is
Life would be a little harder in some places, a little easier in others. Nick could look forward to having Greg in his. Waking up next to him every day, and having him to hold and love until, or so he hoped, the day he died. But, there would also be the daily intake of murder and other unspeakable crimes, and the absence of certain people he had come to love and cherish. But, that was life, sometimes. And, as said, he would always have Greg.
When I'm crashing through the madness,
Not sure who I'm supposed to be
Warrick couldn't help but stare at the perfect woman in front of him. She was everything he'd ever wanted. Correction, she and Lindsay where everything he'd ever wanted. Sure, he'd love to have kids of his won with Catherine someday, but he was in no hurry to do that, and Lindsay was a perfect daughter, in his case. And, he couldn't help but laugh when she engaged herself in a three-way tug-of-war with Greg and Hank.
When I'm caught up in the darkness,
It's your hand that's leading me,
Grissom was a hard egg to crack. But, his shell was broken. He was grinning along with everyone else, and had even admitting durring what few hugs he gave out that he miss his team. Correction, his family. Yes, his team was family.
You bring me back to solid ground,
You lift me up right here, right now
The LVPD grave yard shift was truly no more. Greg and Catherine where on swing, and Warrick and Nick where on nights. Grissom and Sara where leaving the state of Nevada. It was like family suddenly disappearing. But, they'd always have their memories, and they had all gotten something out of it. Nick, and gotten Greg, Warrick had gotten Catherine; Sara had gotten Gil, and visa-versa on all of the above.
In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss,
When I'm in your arms, that's where it is,
When we're tangled up and can't resist,
When we feel that rush, that's where it is
When it came to finally say their good-byes, there where tears. There where hugs. There where laughs and jokes. There was love.
It's a life time filled with tight embraces
The biggest things in the smallest places,
That night, Grissom and Sara fell asleep his each other's arms. On a Delta airlines plane to Boston. Tomorrow, they'd be seeing their new house for the first time, and would be setting up for the rest of their lives.
Warrick held Catherine close while they slept in the privacy of their own home. With Lindsay silently snoring down the hall, and the reassuring lazy beep of the burglar alarm from downstairs every few minutes.
Nick watched as Greg slept with his head in his lap. It was two in the morning and he should really be in bed, but couldn't bring himself to wake the beautiful creature in his lap. Someone like Greg was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and he couldn't believe it took him this long to realize that.
In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss,
When I'm in your arms, that's where it is,
When we're tangled up and can't resist,
When we feel that rush, that's where it is
The LVPD crime lab nightshift was no more. But, oh, if walls could talk, would they have a story to tell. Stories of laughter, sorrow, anger, and insanity. But, there would be one consistence in all those tales. That of a never-end love between all of the members of the shift. A family like no other.
In the sweetest smile, on a night like this,
And a tender touch, that's where it is,
When we're tangled up, and can't resist,
When we feel that rush, that's where it is,
That's where it is
--(Roll end credits)
I hope you liked. Once again, this one is going out to everyone over at The Fort, who helped a lot in the planning of this! Thanks bunches, guys! 7,689 words. WOW.