Disclaimer: They belong to CBS.
A/N:Thanks to Columbo for all her help.
'Til Death Do Us Part
Nick Stokes' wedding ceremony was nothing like he had imagined it would be. He had always thought he would marry in typical Texan style, a big wedding, surrounded by family and countless guests and his father in his big old white Stetson, reserved for family occasions. He pictured a marquee on the ranch decked out with white ribbons just like his sisters had and a buffet of the finest Texan vittles, fired chicken, steak and beer, it wasn't a true Texan wedding without crates of Lone Star. He pictured his wife. A pretty redhead with green eyes that looked deep into his as they said their vows and pledged the age-old words "'til death do us part".
Nick Stokes' wedding ceremony was further from Texas than he could ever imagine. The registry office was tasteful by Vegas standards but there was no marquee, no ribbons and no aisles full of guests. His father was not there to shake his hand and give him sagely advice. Two people were to stand witness to his wedding. Two people, friends and mentors who had become family. Gil and Catherine looked as proud as any parents could be but even as Nick looked to them his thoughts were bittersweet. He thought of a phone call from his parents and muttered apologies that he insisted they did not need to make. His wedding was one his family never envisaged and "not quite fitting" for a family steeped in Texan legal tradition. He understood their reasons, they understood his.
Nick Stokes' wedding was nothing ceremony like he imagined. Despite all that was missing, despite how different reality actually was, it was the greatest day of his life. No pretty redhead graced his side. One thing remained true to the picture in his head; green eyes which looked deeply into his as they said their vows and pledged "'til death do us part".
Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown exchanged wedding rings and wore them only on their wedding day. Simple bands of gold each inscribed on the inside with the words "you are always in my heart". It was Warrick's idea. He knew this was not the wedding Nick had imagined. There were no romantic gestures, no sweeping declarations of acceptance of their love. There were just two colleagues from a job that wasn't ready to accept them as Mr & Mr Stokes Brown and yet Warrick knew he made Nick happy. That for all the pieces that were missing, he knew he was the only piece that Nick needed. It didn't bother Warrick that a simple registry office was all they had, all he wanted was to have Nick by his side, to pledge their vows, to spend the rest of their lives together.
Catherine, not the most romantic of souls, cried as she watched them speak their vows. Their love was strong and true and it filled her heart to see it pledged before her eyes. Gil, detached to most things, painfully open to others, did not care that tears filled his eyes as he watched this moment. He was honoured and humbled that they choose him to be part of it.
Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown each uttered the words "'til death do us part" with conviction, with love, with honesty. They kissed and held each other tight. They were man and man, husband and husband. Catherine and Gil clapped as Warrick whispered into Nick's ear. They never heard the words but both laughed at the blush that coloured Nick's cheeks.
There was no reception following the ceremony. Gil drove the newlyweds to a hotel a few miles outside of the city. It was modern hotel with a honeymoon suite with a piano, a hot tub and views of the desert from their balconied suite.
The room was theirs for the night. It was wedding gift from Nick's parents. A silver champagne bucket rested on a stand by the bed and two bottles of Lone Star chilled nicely inside. A note sat on the stand "Welcome to the family Warrick, you take care of our boy".
That night they consummated their marriage with passion, with love but most of all with gentle, caressing touches. A lifetime of desire and nights of wild abandon waited for them. Their wedding night was about being together, of belonging together, each touch a vow, each kiss a pledge 'til death do them part.
On their first day of married life they took off their wedding rings and placed them on gold chains. They were to wear them around their necks, close to their hearts. As Warrick closed the chain around Nick's neck he looked deep into his eyes and uttered his vows once more "'til death do us part Nicky, 'til death do us part".
Nick Stokes Brown, Nick Stokes to the world, sat outside the coroner's office in the seats reserved for the loved ones of victims. His mind was playing tricks on him. He kept forgetting why he was there. Warrick was dead. Gil had told him but that just didn't make sense. He tried to stand up but his legs would not allow it. Catherine, gripping tightly to his arm held him firmly to the seat. He tried to speak but his words did not make sense. He was questioning why he was there, asking for Warrick. He was in shock. His mind could not make sense of Catherine's attempted soothing words. He kept hearing "he is gone Nicky, Warrick is gone". He could not understand.
Greg and Archie hovered in the hallway; Hodges stood a little further back. Nick wasn't really sure why they were there. Gil had told them of Nick and Warrick's marriage. Nick had heard Grissom say "as much as we are hurting we need to be strong for him". He wondered who Grissom was talking about.
"Catherine, what's going on?". He began for the seventh time in as many minutes. "Where's Warrick, why isn't he here?". Catherine began sobbing; she couldn't take it any longer. She had been strong for two hours, two hours more than she had thought she had in her. Greg took her place by Nick's side he took up Catherine's words and tried to get through. Nick looked so young and lost that it broke Greg's heart.
Grissom appeared from Doc Robbins' office. Nick stood to meet him. "Gris, what in hell is going on here?" His shocked mind seeming to have forgotten Grissom's phone call a few short hours ago. "Why is everyone…" Nick stopped. Grissom held out his hand. "Oh god, oh god no, Grissom?" Nick's body began shaking violently as he watched Gil hand him a gold chain with a simple gold band hanging from it "I am so sorry Nicky, I am so very sorry." Nick clutched the ring to his chest as he fell to the ground, tears blinding him, breath catching in his throat, the roaring of Warrick's words deafening in his ears; "'Til death do us part Nicky. 'Til death do us part".