For My Friend Warrick

No they do not belong to me...wish they did though.

Baptist Cemetery on Eastern

Nick's discharge from the hospital had been early that morning and now he sat at a small memorial service for his best friend,Warrick Brown. Catherine and Sara sat on both sides of him, there if he needed them but knowing that he had to have his time to grieve the loss of someone he had loved like a brother.

Grissom and Gregg,along with Brass stood behind them, Warrick's remains had been found in the park as directed by Sinclair. Now it was time to put them to rest, the coffin had been exhumed and the remains placed inside.

No words were needed, it was silent as they allowed the casket to be placed back into it's grave and and the earth replaced on top. Nick felt a sense of completion along with a sense of pain that would be a long time in healing. The end of a friend's life was devastating and it would not be done within a day, a week, a year or possibly ever. It was a pain that one only new if they had experienced it, dealt with the pain and all that there was related with death of a brother.

The men with the shovels disappeared, Nick still sat still, looking at the flowers that were replaced on the grave, some withered and some near death, some fresh and showing signs of new buds, it all seemed surreal. It seemed as if had all been a bad dream and he needed to awaken to find that Warrick was still alive.

Catherine glanced back at Grissom who nodded and she stood and Sara followed suit, they all knew Nick needed some time alone so they all walked away together, still feeling the sting of a life taken so young.

Nick bowed his head and tears welled in his eyes, then ran down his cheeks,a pain in his chest so deep that it almost took his breath and forced him to gulp for a breath of air.

"Nicky, I appreciate you sitting here mourning my death but you have work still to do and I don't plan on leaving you for a while, I have a son you need to watch after,you're the only one that I can trust." Warrick's voice startled him from his deep and painful thoughts.

Nick looked at the man beside him, his face filled with anger,"You're dead Warrick,you left me. Why would you do that man? Dammit ,why didn't you fight harder? I did! Sara did!" he yelled at the ghost figure beside him.

Warrick shook his head,"I've wondered the same thing Nick but it was evidently my time man, if you look at my life I had been living on borrowed time for a long time and it was up, the big guy had other plans." Warrick shook his head as he glanced over at the family he had left behind,standing on the hill giving Nick his alone time.

"It doesn't make any sense Warrick,finally you're given everything you've always wanted and then it's ripped away,in a heartbeat of a moment,gone. I just don't understand." Nick leaned forward, resting his pale face in his hands,knowing his friend would never be there for his son,or for him again.

"Listen, Nick you have always been the one I came to when I needed something and vice versa,we've had a close relationship for a long time, you are like my brother,and not even death has been able to take away our ability to communicate, to know what the other is thinking. My body is dead but my spirit is still alive in you,and in my son. I need you man to take care of the one thing I can't take care of,my son Eli." Warrick stood and now faced Nick.

Nick looked up and smiled,"I can do that for you bro, I can make sure he is taken care of and never forgets his father. I can do that." Nick's eyes were filled with tears and sadness was etched on his face but a smile slowly crept forward and he said it again,"I can take care of Eli,and never allow him to forget his father, my friend, my brother."

"That's my Nicky." Warrick smiled and patted his friend on the back, "I would love a beer right now but that would be impossible, so would you take the guys out and have a drink to me and our family. Also, if you can sneak in a kiss for me, tell Catherine she was always my fantasy too."

Nick gave him a surprised look and smiled his Texan grin."Now you just want me to get my ass whipped." Nick laughed out loud at the thought of planting one on his boss.

"Yeah, she could whip your ass Nick." he smiled and covered his mouth,attempting to stifle outright laugh.

Nick grinned,"Yeah right." his face took a serious look and he stood and glanced up at the hill, wondering if they were thinking he was crazy right now or just in deep grief.

"I'd hug you right now if I didn't think they would call the psych ward to haul me back to the hospital." His southern accent deep,just like it always was when he was joking around with Warrick.

"And from the looks of it, they would not hesitate. I'd hate for them to have to throw you in a padded room,so I'll let it slip this time but you know I will see you again next time you get your ass in trouble little brother." Warrick joked.

"Well, then I'll probably see you next week,or sooner." Nick laughed.

"Yeah I will, no doubt." Warrick gave him a look, a pained expression,"You know what Nick?"

"What Warrick?" he asked, rubbing away the tears from his face.

"Tell Grams thank you for me. I don't think I ever thanked her for being my mom. Will you do that for me Nick?" Warrick's face filled with an expression of pain.

"Yeah, I will Warrick, it would be my pleasure." Nick nodded his head, the request was a simple task.

"I love you man, don't ever forget it." a small grin out of the corner of his mouth planted on his face.

"You say that to all the beautiful women Warrick, so how do I know you're sincere?" he joked,knowing that his friend was trying to tell him good-bye.

"Cos you're the only girl I ever loved." Warrick laughed.

"Now that was just uncalled for Warrick." Nick bantered back to his friend.

"Nick! You okay?" Catherine's voice could be heard from a distance, Nick quickly turned to nod that he was fine but when he turned back around his friend was gone.

Nick smiled,Warrick always did have to have the last word. He stepped away from the grave and started up the hill to meet with his friends, as he walked he felt better than he had in days,it was time to move forward, to take care of things that Warrick had not been able to finish.

As he reached the group he smiled,"Want to go and get a beer?"

They all smiled and nodded in unison,they all knew that Nick was going to be okay.

Three days later

Brass's office

Brass glanced down at the thick folder of files that he had hidden, the name Stokes had been a recurrent theme throughout the entire folder. Had Nick's father wanted his son dead? Had he been the one to order both murders? No facts, only words that eluded to a judge in Texas as being the man in charge,no confirmation but enough to order a probe into Judge Stokes office, he would be damned if anybody would mess with Nick again and cause him the pain that he had suffered the past few weeks.

He stood and took the file and placed it back into the locked cabinet, he would need to make sure all the people involved in his station had been removed first, otherwise an investigation could cause Nick's life to be endangered again,he couldn't risk it,he wouldn't risk it.

Crime Lab

Hodges passed Wendy's station and smiled, he knew that if had not acted that night she would have died, he had fallen in love with her and that had messed up so much of what he was hired to accomplish. He would have another chance when everything had calmed down at LVPD but for now, nobody suspected him and he would remain planted as Judge Stokes' mole.

Gregg walked down the hallway of the crime lab with a smile on his face,nobody would ever question him or his connections with the bureau, he would remain at the station, his orders were to be an observer for now. There were still questions as to who recruited Sinclair and McKeen and who had connections and who was able to get to McKeen's food and poison him. The biggest question had still been unanswered, who had given the order to rid the lab of Nick and Warrick? His job was unfinished so he would stay on as a CSI until the case was officially resolved.

Dallas Texas

Judge Stokes' office

"What the hell do you mean the opportunity was missed? When I give an order it damned well needs to carried out, do you understand? Judge Stokes screamed into the cellphone,then he suddenly tossed it against the wall in anger, a simple order could not be completely carried out and it pissed him off.

He tried to calm himself, the thought of Nick being able to go back to work and possibly one day figure it all out, angered him. If only he was Nick's father it would be different but he found out the truth and now he needed to get rid of this pain in his side before the public figured it out too.

'Nick Stokes had to die.'

I will get back to this after I finish Chickenpox...I am getting back in the groove. The Target will be the title...I hope you will read!