Communication - by Sara's Girl
AN – I always wanted to write something around Grave Danger but feel the afterwards at the hospital H/C thing has been done already with far more skill than I could do it with. So instead, here's my little take on what I think Greg would have done. As with the others this is being 'seen' through the eyes of someone else, mainly Grissom. Apologies for messing with any of the finer plot details…artistic licence? :)
Please let me know what you think, reviews are my favourite! I own no one, not even Greg Sanders, more's the pity.
He stood still just for a moment, catching his breath, letting everyone surge around him, frantic scrambling throwing up dust into the black desert night. Voices calling out ahead of him, familiar voices but with an edge. He knew they had found him, and that's why he stopped. Letting out a little of the breath he had been holding for hours. It wasn't over yet, but they had found Nick and he was alive. Thank god. Ahead of him, he watched Warrick jump down and start prising at something with a shovel. Greg kneeling at his side with a fire extinguisher, his eyes like saucers. Someone needed to tell him not to empty the whole tank into the enclosed space. He had barely taken two steps toward them when he felt the phone in his pocket ring. Distractedly, he pulled it out.
He listened to the voice at the other end, eyes widening, urgency surging through his veins and propelling him forwards. Snapped the phone shut and sprinted the last few steps, raising one hand and shouting "Stop!"
Warrick, Catherine and Greg turned quickly, confusion apparent on their faces.
"There are charges under the box. You need to get out of that hole, the box is going to explode."
He didn't know how his voice was so calm. He certainly didn't feel it inside. He just needed to get his people away from that box.
"I'm not leaving here without him," Warrick shot back defiantly, fingers gripping the edge of the box containing his struggling best friend.
Greg and Catherine were standing on the edge of the hole now, panic etched on their faces. Sara had come to stand behind them, her eyes flitting between Warrick and Grissom, silently.
"Trust me," the older man said at last, firmly.
Warrick's pale eyes met his and with a small nod he slowly climbed out of the hole to stand beside Catherine. Grissom jumped into the hole with an agility that surprised him. Looked down at Nick, still scrabbling desperately at the Perspex lid of the box, eyes terrified.
"Ok, we need 200 pounds of dirt over here, now!" he called out to the waiting officers.
He had an idea, but it depended on his ability to calm the trapped man down. If he tried to get out of the box when it was opened, the charges would detonate.
"Hey….hey, Nicky," he stared down into the eyes of his CSI.
"Listen to me. We're going to get you out of there but you need to do something for me. We're going to take the lid off, ok, but you have to stay really still. There are explosives under the box. They're weight sensitive. We have to equalize your weight before we pull you out. Do you understand?"
He watched as Nick pushed his hands against the clear plastic and screwed his eyes tightly shut, crying out in pain and frustration.
Grissom knew he had to make him understand, or else one or all of them were dead.
"Can you hear me, Nicky? Pancho? Please?" His voice was desperate now and he knew his trademark calm was slipping away.
He thought he saw something flick across Nick's fearful dark eyes as they met, just for a second. Fastening onto the familiar name. Then he lost him again, eyes now darting around the inside of the box, incoherent syllables spilling from swollen lips.
The supervisor sighed heavily and hung his head, thinking hard. He knew the whole team now was watching him, expecting him to do something; come up with some fantastic plan to save the day. Well, he had an idea, but it was no good at all if he couldn't get through to Nick enough to communicate his instructions. He could hear the roar and whirr of machinery now as the officers started to put his plan into action somewhere behind him.
He placed one hand on the coffin lid, cleared his throat to try one more time.
"Nick, if you want to get out of there you have to listen to me – "
A cry of frustration rang out, making Grissom pause midsentence, looking around for the sound. It hadn't come from Nick, who was wriggling and sobbing uncontrollably now. He looked up to his right and found himself staring straight into the ashen face of Greg Sanders. He wasn't standing next to Catherine any more and had dropped the extinguisher tank. Greg was kneeling at the edge of the hole, hands gripping uselessly at the dirt. His mouth was slightly open and he was breathing hard. Grissom stared back at him for a moment, shocked into silence by the young CSI's expression. His dark eyes were huge and shimmering with tears that hadn't fallen, Gil observed, his pale, dirt-streaked cheeks were dry. Greg's eyes seemed to be boring right into him and painful desperation radiated from him.
"What is it, Greg?" he demanded, somewhat impatiently, not forgetting the man still thrashing in the box behind him, but unable to ignore the younger man's anguished cry and terrified eyes.
Greg closed his eyes briefly and swallowed hard. He looked for a moment like he was not going to say anything, but from somewhere he seemed to drag a resilience and strength that fortified him. When he spoke, his voice was surprisingly calm.
"Let me try."
Grissom did a double take. Tried to figure out what was possibly going through his youngest employee's mind. He had been hanging back in the background all day, quieter than usual. Now did he want his moment of glory?
"What are you talking about, Greg?"
"Let me try. I know what to do. Please. I don't have time to explain this right now."
There was a slight catch to his voice now. Grissom searched his eyes just for a second, before nodding slowly. Stepping aside. He didn't know why he did it, but something in Greg's face and tone made it impossible to stand in his way. Gil furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes, thinking, as he pulled himself out of the hole. Heard Greg sliding down next to the box to take his place.
"Don't worry," he heard Greg call to him without turning around. "I heard what you're going to do. I'll tell him not to move."
Grissom exhaled slowly and turned to watch what Greg would do, standing back a little from the edge. He shivered a little despite the airless desert night. He could hear everyone around him, their questions spilling out, the growl of an engine getting closer. But his eyes were focused firmly on Greg.
He was practically lying on the perspex lid of the box, legs tucked under him and arms stretched across the shiny surface, cat-like. Fingers splayed across the clear plastic, staring down at Nick.
He couldn't hear what Greg was saying, but something seemed to be getting through. He didn't have a clear view of Nick but he could tell that the frantic movement inside the box had slowed a little.
Grissom was staring fixedly at the scene unfolding a few feet away from him. Eyes glued to Greg's lips. Moving so fast he could barely keep up, his dark eyes pleading, soothing. He didn't notice Catherine standing beside him until she spoke.
"What is he saying?" The roar of machinery was deafening and even from inches away Catherine had to lean in and raise her voice to make herself heard.
"I can't tell you," replied Grissom simply.
Catherine shook her head in exasperation. Pushed strawberry blonde hair behind her ears and turned to him.
"This is hardly the time to be cagey, Gil!"
Grissom sighed. Wondered why people always assumed he was keeping secrets. He answered his colleague and friend without looking at her. He was still fixated on Greg.
"I'm not refusing to tell you what he's saying, Catherine. I can't tell you what he's saying because I don't know. He's not speaking English."
"Huh." Catherine tilted her head on one side. She turned to watch Greg too.
He was smiling a little now, though it was shot through with fear. Nodding. One hand tracing a slow pattern on the plastic, his face only inches away from it. The look in Greg's eyes now was unmistakeable. It wasn't how anyone looked at a colleague or even a friend.
"We missed that one, didn't we?" Catherine slipped her arm through the other supervisor's in a gesture of support. He nodded slowly.
"I don't know how."
"Maybe they wanted us to miss it," offered Catherine, thoughtfully.
"I wondered about Greg today...his reaction was just so...I don't know. It was like he was in shock. I thought maybe something else was bothering him, but never thought this."
"Nor me," sighed Grissom. "I haven't seen a case affect him like this since he came to that bus crash scene when he was still in the lab. "
Catherine nodded. "I remember that. I wonder how long it's been."
Grissom heard the question she had chosen not to voice, that was lurking under the surface.
"How serious they are, you mean?"
His eyes fell once more on Greg. Took in his tense body language, the way he was half kneeling and half lying on the box, protectively, his eyes fierce and desperate, as if trying to shield the other man from further harm. Despite the physical barrier between them. Not caring that everyone had slowly stopped their conversations and were watching him, open mouthed.
"I'd say very."
Catherine nodded slowly next to him and leaned against his shoulder. He leaned into the warmth for a moment, the contact comforting, even though he would never admit he needed comfort.
"Ok, let's do it!" Greg's voice echoed out suddenly, as Warrick slid back down into the hole to help him remove the lid and attach the rope and hook to Nick's belt. Grissom nodded and gave the signal. Watched, Catherine's eyes tracking the arc of his gaze as Nick was yanked from the box, crashing to the ground in a heap some feet away. Their heads whipping round just in time to see the box exploding in a cloud of smoke and dirt.
Watched as everyone started to run towards the almost motionless form of Nick, face down in the soil. Noticed Greg, standing some twenty feet away as though frozen to the spot. Watched Greg watch all his colleagues run to comfort, to help, to check Nick was ok, and didn't move. Standing there, arms hanging by his sides, tears now tracking through the dirt on his face.
"Greg," he called, hoping to snap the younger man out of his trance, or fear, or anxiety about what everyone else would think all of a sudden. "Greg, just go!"
He moved then, like something had hit him. Pushed everyone out of his path and practically threw himself down beside his barely conscious partner. With shaking hands, pushed Nick's hair back from his ravaged face and leaned down, touching everywhere he could, now that he could. The machinery had quieted now and Gil could make out the words without lipreading. He was speaking English now, and very familiar words, soft but clear.
"I love you…you're safe now...don't ever leave me." Over and over like a mantra.
He watched as Nick's hand slid across the soil and closed around Greg's. Gil could see his face a little now and the movement looked to be painful and a massive effort for him, and yet the tiniest ghost of a smile curved his lips as Greg leaned down and pressed lips against that hand.
Grissom felt Catherine behind him once more, could tell she was watching the scene over his shoulder.
He smiled, turned to her.
"He'll be ok."