Title:(Last Drink Tonight) On the Fringe
Disclaimer:I do not own or have any sort of connection to CBS or the CSI franchise...wish I did though it would be nice to have a little extra cash.
Summary: It all started with a trip to a missing person which was interrupted by a drunk driver, then the world fell apart for one CSI,a life totally changed but not by mere chance but by a group of scientists that have an agenda.
Desert Palm Hospital
"Hey Nick,can you hear me?" Dr Holt asked as he examined his patient,his leg healed,the bruises and cuts completely healed,the scars a faint reminder of his surgeries.
Even with Nick's eyes closed he could tell Nick was attempting to respond,to answer the man asking the questions.
"Come on Nick,you need to wake up, I want to see those brown eyes of yours." Julia prodded her patient,stroking his hair as she spoke softly,wanting the man to awaken.
Then as if she had wished hard enough,he opened his eyes and looked up,"Hey Julia." his voice was strong.
"Hey Nick." a smile spread across her face.
Dr Holt's motions stopped and focused on Nick's words."Hey Nick."
Nick looked to the other side to see his doctor,"Dr Holt,is something wrong?" he asked,surprised to be in the hospital.
"Actually from what I can tell so far Nick,you're doing great." he watched as Nick smiled at the news.
"Yeah I am,so when can I leave? I really want to get home." he gave them his familiar Texan smile.
"Well,if all your tests are negative and we can't find a reason why you've been unconscious for almost three days or possIbLy longer since we don't have any record of your medical status prior to coming into the ER, then maybe tomorrow?" he wanted to be optimistic,not burst the man's bubble just yet.
"Sounds great. Where is everybody?" he asked,wondering why he was in radiology.
"Lots of questions Nick. Let's get a scan of your head and get you back to your room as soon as Grissom gets here." Dr Holt was still unsure of how to handle the situation.
"I can't do that." Nick face turned serious.
"Do what Nick?" Dr Holt's red flags were shooting up at that statement.
"Charlie told me it would hurt the insertion,I can't do it." Nick was calm,matter of fact and that concerned his doctor.
"Insertion? What are you talking about Nick?" feeling he was finally going to get some answers.
"You don't know?" he asked, a confused look on his face.
"Nick, I wouldn't be asking the question if I knew,would I?" Dr Holt could hear a storm of people heading towards the radiology department,the team had arrived but he was too close to an answer and wouldn't allow them to interfere just yet.
"Julia,tell them I need a minute with Nick then they can come back." Dr Holt directed the nurse.
Julia didn't feel as if she could leave the man but knew that Dr Holt knew what he was doing."Nick, I'll be back in a moment." her hand had somehow taken a grip on Nick's during the conversation and she hated to let the connection go but she knew that she had to stop the crowd outside,her hand slid out of his and she walked out into the hallway.
Dr Holt looked down at a very confused Nick,"What insertion Nick?"
"The one Dr Tam placed. He told me you knew what it was and would understand." Nick's hand automatically rubbing at the base of his neck now,the stitches had been removed and the healing had taken place,the piece of metal inserted into his spine was ordered by his doctor,that's what they told him,and he complied.
Dr Holt followed Nick's hand and what appeared to be a one inch incision that had healed was visible. "We'll figure it out Nick."
"I feel fine." the smile was back and Nick's hand was back at his side,"I really do feel great." he smiled,something Dr Holt was surprised at,this man would never be this okay with something he didn't understand.
"Can I do a CT without contrast?" he asked,feeling that anything would be something,he wanted to get a visual of the device inserted into his patient's neck.
A voice interrupted,"The radiation could destroy potential evidence. First,let's get Nick back to his room and get trace evidence and then go from there." Grissom's voice was authoritative,he didn't want to lose evidence.
"Griss,hey!" Nick greeted,his boss wanting to hug the man but knew he could cause contamination of any evidence,"Listen,right now I want to hug your neck but we have to get the evidence first,figure out where you've been."
Nick stuck out his lower lip but nodded, confused about what all the fuss was about. Charlie had told him that they knew where he was because he could never figure it out. But for some odd reason he didn't feel nervous about it,he was kept safe and Charlie was there.
They started moving the stretcher back towards the room marked on the chart,wanting to get the clothing he had arrived in,any trace that still might be on Nick's person.
The crowd was redirected to the waiting area,at least a hundred people stood in the room and outside in the hallway,all wanting to see the man who had disappeared months before.
Warrick entered with a kit,he too just wanted to wrap his arms around his friend but he knew that he had to gather the evidence from the room and his friend.
"Warrick!" Nick greeted.
"Nick,if you ever disappear on me again, I'm going to kick your ass. Do you understand?" a big smile on his face,his gloved hands up in the air,Nick nodded in understanding.
"Okay,first I need to get fingernail scrapings." his hands starting to attempt but he saw that Nick's fingernails were down to the skin,no way would he be able to obtain anything unless he made Nick's fingers bleed.
"They evidently gave me a manicure before I left." Nick shrugged,as if it really didn't bother him,Warrick feeling this was strange for his friend.
He lifted the sheets and saw the same with his feet,"Pedicure too. They were thorough." he felt frustrated,whoever had kidnapped his friend was very smart in forensic collection.
"Guess Charlie wanted me to be well groomed when I came back." Nick smiled at the thought of Charlie wanting him to look his best for his friends.
"Nick, the nurse said you've had several baths since your arrival but maybe they didn't wash your hair." he reached up with a comb to see that Nick's facial expression had changed."What is it Nick?"
"Nothing,go ahead." he watched as Warrick combed through his hair,holding a piece of paper to catch any trace,a few pieces of dried white powder were obtained and that was about it,but it was something.
"Something for Hodges?" Nick asked feeling suddenly uncomfortable with the thought of Hodges processing him.
"Yeah,where are your clothes?" looking around,opening the door to the closet.
Nick shook his head,"Maybe the nurse who admitted me knows."
Warrick opened the door and looked outside,said something to someone then reentered the room and shut the door.
"What's next? Pubic hair comb through?" Nick was already pulling down the sheet again.
Warrick let out a laugh,"Nick, you are doing better."
Nick grinned,"I just know the procedure."
Warrick did his job,any hair on Nick's body combed through. "Hey,picture time." he pulled out his camera and started snapping shots,Nick closed his eyes,wanting to be oblivious to what his friend was doing.
"What's this?" Warrick asked as he found the incision site on the back of Nick's neck.
"It's my insertion site,I think it's healed though, Charlie said it looked fine." Nick replied matter of factly,sending up Warrick's radar,this was not like his friend,to allow somebody to place something inside his body without a fight.
"But insertion of what Nicky?" he asked,now very curious as to what lie underneath the skin.
"Something to take away the bad memories, according to Charlie, it works, I feel fine." Nick's hand again rubbing at the site.
Warrick nodded,not wanting to upset his friend,but he snapped several pictures of the reddened thick area on the back of Nick's neck.
"Done?" Nick asked as he continued to watch his friend pull things out of his forensic kit.
"Swab time!" Warrick smiled as he held up the long q-tip.
"What are you swabbing?" Nick looked at his friend,the smile gone from his face.
"Nick,you know the procedure, so roll." Warrick indicated for him to turn on his side.
"No,I can't do that." he was no longer being Mr Cooperative,he was done.
"Nick,we have to do this,you've been gone for months,we are going to try and figure this out. We care about you and what might have been done to you." Warrick's voice was calm,caring.
"Charlie was my comforter,he never touched me. He only provided comfort during procedures and I felt safe." Nick tried to explain.
Warrick pulled over a chair,"Listen,are you sure that nobody touched you? I mean you seem to have some problems remembering." Warrick wanted his friend to do this in a cooperating way,he didn't want to have to get the doctors involved.
"I'm sure he only was allowed to give comfort,nothing sexual or aversive." Nick attempted to explain but his memory of Charlie and the others was very limited,it was if they were distant memories now,it must be the device that was staring to block the memories of his captivity too.
"Charlie kidnapped you Nick. He took you away for months. Are you saying nobody hurt you the entire time you were missing?" Warrick's face serious,wanting answers that lead to his friend's abduction and return.
Nick rolled over to allow the intrusive exam,he really couldn't remember much anymore,but he was sure nobody touched him in that manner but he had memories of pain so he wasn't for sure exactly.
Warrick finished attaining the swabs,Nick had remained quiet for the rest of the evidence gathering,he was deep in thought.
"Are you ready to see your friends?" Warrick asked.
"I'm tired,can it wait for a while,you wore me out." Nick closed his eyes,his desire to sleep was overwhelming.
"Sure,I'll tell Griss, he'll understand." Warrick gathered his evidence and was about to walk out of the door when he heard Nicky speak in a very low voice,"I missed you Warrick."
Warrick nodded,"I missed you too Nicky." he opened the door and walked out into the crowded hallway.
"How is he Warrick?" Grissom asked as he stood with several police officers and his team.
"Confused. Whatever they implanted in his neck is blocking his memories,he seems to think of his abductor as a comforter." Warrick shook his head,it was difficult to think of what techniques that they might have used to brainwash his friend,to cause him to be so compliant.
"We need to talk to him while he still has some memories of his abduction." Grissom started towards the door,but Warrick's hand stopped him from going inside.
"He wants to sleep. He seemed really tired following what I did to collect evidence,evidence which has probably been altered,I just think we need to figure out what they injected or implanted into his neck." His voice was was angry,he had just humiliated his friend and he felt horrible for doing it,because whoever took him was smart enough to clean their tracks.
Grissom nodded his head,he needed to get the letter to trace and the evidence collected, Catherine would stay with Nick and so would Greg,who seemed to be shocked by the events.
Inside Nick was standing at the window as Catherine entered,Gregg followed behind her as she quietly approached her friend,"Nicky,you okay?"
Nick turned,"I feel great actually and I want to go home. I want to sign out AMA,now." he had already removed the IV and had made a call to a neighbor,whom he had almost given a heart attack, to bring him some clothing,giving them the code to his house.
"Nicky,I understand if you want to leave, I really do but there are so many unanswered questions." Catherine attempted to explain.
Greg was standing near his friend now,the red area on his neck was giving him an X-files moment,when Scully had been abducted and a chip placed into her neck,it had to be the military.
"Greg,quit starring at my neck." Nick looked over to his friend,getting close enough to pull him into a hug,they hugged each other for several seconds,the connection was there,they had endured so much over the past months.
"I swear, I wasn't abducted by aliens." he whispered into Greg's ear,giving Greg goose bumps that Nick could figure out what he was thinking.
"How did you know what I was thinking?" Greg asked shyly,feeling foolish for having such a thought.
"I know you Greg." he smiled and patted him on the back.
He walked over to Catherine and wrapped his hands around her,she responded by wrapping her arms around him,a tight hug that lasted longer than the one he had given to Greg,he really missed her and her motherly ways.
"I need to tell you something Nick." Catherine was about to attempt to explain that Sophia had paid off his home and moved in to wait for her son to return,
"That my mother purchased my home? I already know, I need to talk to her,get to know her,I think we have a lot in common for two people who have never met." he smiled and walked over to the sink and looked into the mirror.
"I don't think your doctors will allow you to leave Nick,they still have a lot of questions." she gave him a sad look,feeling bad for giving him the bad news.
"I have to leave,I hate being confined,I just want to breathe in fresh air and get back home,anything that they want to do as far as tests can be done on an outpatient basis but today I'm going home,so let my mother know." he smiled and walked into the bathroom and closed the door.
"Brass will kill him." Greg blurted out,knowing how the older man had worried over Nick's disappearance.
"Not if Nicole gets to him first." Catherine turned to a nodding Greg."We need some assistance."
"Grissom?" Greg asked.
"No, Nicole." she smiled as she opened the door to get Nicole who was still standing in the hallway talking to Julia.
"Nicole, I need your assistance." Catherine motioned her into the room.
Nicole walked into the room,her heart beating hard and fast,she was so excited to see Nick again."Is Nick okay?" she asked,wondering why they had wanted her to come inside.
"Nick is going to leave,he wants to go home." Greg explained,getting straight to the point.
She nodded in understanding as Nick opened the door to the bathroom,his eyes fell on the beautiful woman,"I missed you." he smiled and took her into his arms.
She held him tight,"You scared me,I thought you were dead."
"You save me Nikki, you saved me." he held her tightly,not wanting to let go.
Three hours later
Nick was dressed, nobody could change his mind,he was leaving the hospital.
A knock on the door interrupted the intense discussion between Nick and his doctors, who had decided to gang up on him,it was Warrick returning from running the evidence.
Nick stood and walked towards the door,Nikki, Catherine and Greg watching as Warrick shook his head,"Nothing, everything was clean, The white powder is still being tested but we have nothing."
"Well, I feel great so let me go home and meet my mother." he picked up his discharge papers and turned to see Dr Kasey's angry face."I know I have an appointment tomorrow so I won't be late, I promise."
Dr Kasey nodded,"If you are I'll kick your ass Nick." he gave the man a smile though he felt Nick should be staying in the hospital but he also understand that Nick had been held captive and needed to have some control back over his life.
Nick refused the wheelchair escort and held onto Nikki's and Greg would make sure they arrived at the house without a problem,Nick would still get police protection.
Thank you so much for the reviews,yes I will keep Nick safe for a while and I think its time he go back to work,the device can't be bothered or investigated unless it causes harm to Nick, so Grissom will watch and observe as well as the rest of the team and his family, It is also time he meets Sophia,they need to get to know each other.
This story will continue as On the Fringe...and found in hte mature section, the man needs some lovin from Nicole....so those who come with me I will welcome you with open arms but for those who followed and this is as far as you can go,thank you for the support and the journey. You guys were the best!!!!
Mature for Nicka nd Nikki....they are going to get married!