Title: The Words We Dare Not Say (Or do we?)

Author: Emono

Rating: PG-16

Fandom: CSI: Las Vegas

Pairings: Nick/Archie

Disclaimer: *le sigh* There is a 50ft high wall around CSI with armed sentries every 20ft

Summary: Archie wants to hear those words.

Beta: gil_follower

Warnings: Slight-angst, fluff, love, just a struggle to say "I love you"

Archie remembers the first time he heard those words out of Nick's mouth.

It technically hadn't been for his ears, anyone's ears, but he had been there hiding at the back of the layout room. He had just entered, but Nick was on the other side of the room with his back toward him.

Nick had been on the phone, cooing to his current girlfriend. From the muffled noise on the other end, she was shouting at the Southerner for something stupid about 'flowers' or something. Nick was semi-pacing now, growing more annoyed by the minute. Finally, he cut her off…but nicely.

"Baby? Baby! Listen, please" Nick glanced around to make sure he was alone, Archie quickly ducked behind the bottom-lit layout table "I love you, you know that. And I'm sorry."

Archie could tell it was forced, but the bimbo on the other end didn't know it.

"Of course I love ya" Nick whispered sweetly "And when I get off my shift, I'll buy you a dozen…" there was a high chirp on the other side, he rolled his eyes "-I meant, two dozen roses. You're favorite, pink, I promise."

Archie sighed sadly when the CSI's girlfriend calmed down, his heart aching slightly. If he had Nick, he would never get pissed over trivial matters like that. Two dozen roses, a store-bought cookie, a can of pop from down the hall, it didn't matter! If only Nick would look his way, maybe he'd see-

"Now put my stereo back, and I'll see you in two hours" the Southerner gave a relieved sigh when his girl obeyed "Love you so much, sweetheart, bye."

Archie slumped against the desk, a little bit crestfallen but a whole lot of heartbroke.

~*~

It stung, he'd admit it, it burned and ached that those words weren't for him. Him, the man slaving away on evidence Nick had brought in. Giving himself a migraine by going through dozens of tapes that ended up with a single shot of the perp, which he had spent the last hour on editing to look perfect.

But did Nick care? NO! Of course not! The bastard was across the lab table, praising Sanders of all people just because the other lab tech had deciphered evidence that revealed there wasn't just one but two killers. Grr! To say Archie was pissed was an understatement! If he knew about chemicals and stuff, he could've done the same thing. It doesn't take a genius to interpret DNA…ok, it did a little bit. But could he help it if he was media/electronic overall A/V lab tech?

Stupid DNA, stupid Sanders, stupid huge-ish crush on Nick Stokes…

Archie kicked the bottom-lit lab table weakly, nearly pouting.

"Archie!"

"What?" the lab tech looked up quickly, eyes round as he was caught brooding.

Nick held out his hand, "The picture."

"Right, sorry" Archie pulled out the file, opening it up and supplying the 'picture' perfect pic of their perp "There you go. I had to do some heavy work, but-"

"So, Greggo, you have the DNA match ready for Grissom?" but Greg had the printout in his hand before he could finish his sentence, Nick grinned and cupped the back of the others head "I can never tell you I love you enough, can I?"

They shared goofy smiles, Nick shook the brunette lightly before leaving the layout room. Archie glared daggers at the still smiling DNA specialist, who quickly wilted under the hard stare.

"Archie-?"

The raven haired man cut him off sharply, "Don't even think you can talk to me, Sanders."

Archie stalked back to his lab, dragging his feet like a neglected child.

~*~

Yes! Finally! Archie grinned smugly on his way to the A/V lab, strutting down the hallway. He was ready to start whistling he was so happy, but he refrained to stop anymore strange looks. He was just about home when he saw Greg shoot out of his lab, pouting and gesturing Nick over. Archie watched the Southerner trudge over, so he loitered by his doorway to catch the conversation.

"Niiiiiiiick…" Greg drew the man's name out in a childish whine, half-glaring at him "What the hell? You know I've been trying to get out into the field!"

"I know, G" Nick tried to calm the boy down "But I-"

"I thought we had something, an understanding" Greg cast a dirty look over Nick's shoulder at the A/V specialist, but he got a tongue stuck out at him in return "You took Archie out into the field!"

"I needed him there today" the Southerner tried to explain "You can't be bitter, G."

Greg pouted, "I am."

"I'm sure Warrick will take you out" Nick smiled a peculiar smile, one of admiration and something tender "Archie and I just click better, you get it?"

Archie flushed under the unique praise, he hoped it meant what it did.

"Besides, G, he's not as green as you think" Nick obviously didn't know Archie was still there, cause he didn't hesitate "I love having a guy there who can calculate distances right in his head."

Hearing those words sent Archie's heart aflutter, but they were in the wrong context. Maybe one day…

~*~

Archie got his first non-verbal 'I love you' from Nick after their third date. Normal couples would sleep together, but his Texas boy was more of a 'let's take things kind of slow, I like you too much to ruin it' kind of person and they decided to leave it at that (after a heated make-out session, of course.)

Archie entered his lab, eyeing a VHS tape carefully and wondering how the best way to go about analyzing it was. That's when he spotted it. There was a crystal vase sitting innocently on top of his modem, water filled mid-level. In the vase was a single rose, still thorned and sporting a single leaf. It was in mid-boom and colored a deep gold, a Texas rose. Archie approached slowly, plucking up the card that laid out beside the gift.

Arch,

Not every romance is perfect, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't love every minute of it.

Nick

"Nicky…" Archie breathed, knees threatening to give out as he swooned right there in the middle of the A/V lab. His fingers came up, caressing the flesh of the petals, taking in it's subtle scent.

//Eat your heart out, Greg Sanders// Archie smirked to himself, setting the rose aside for now //I'm in every-lasting apple love with Nick stokes. And I think, maybe…he might just-kind-of love me back.//

Archie plopped down in his chair, then spun happily.

~*~

Archie let loose those words by complete accident, with horrible timing, and no sense of forethought.

Archie and Nick all but jumped into Nick's truck, panting hard. It had nothing to do with anything perverted, they were both scared out of their minds. Nick had taken his (well, not boyfriend, more like the person he was courting) out into the field on a whim, and it had turned into a shoot out between gangs. They had just managed to get away, and now the police were swarming the mob down the street. Their kits were thrown in the back, Archie's head was in his hands.

"Never" Nick panted, sounding angry and concerned all at once as he gripped the steering wheel but didn't turn the truck on "Never again! I'm never taking you out into the field after that, you can forget it. I can't… it…never, Arch, you get that?"

Archie nodded,, his whole body trembling.

Nick spotted the vulnerable tremor, "Baby…"

In one smooth movement, Archie slid onto the Southerner's lap and captured his lips. Nick couldn't even begin to protest, he wrapped his arms around the lean hips and ran his hands up the plane of his back. The A/Vspecialist moaned into the kiss, raking his fingers through the man's short hair. They moved in sync, pressing and rocking to set a smooth rhythm with the sweetest friction.

Archie managed to pry himself away first, pressing their foreheads.

"I love you, Nicky."

Liquid russet eyes snapped open to meet with his, their lips nearly touching.

"What did you just-?"

"I love you" Archie's sincerity shined bright in his bottomless eyes "You don't have to say it back, Nicky, I just wanted you to know."

Gentle hands traced his spine, one lovingly cradling the back of his neck.

"You know, Arch" the Southerner smiled brilliantly "I could fall for you so easily."

Archie arched a brow at this, "Does that mean you'll take me out into the field again?"

"Ha-ha…no."

~*~

Archie finally got what he truly wanted only a week later.

They had consummated their relationship, finally! They had both wanted it desperately, but Nick had made sure he had whined and dined him completely and finished his Southern courting ritual before they had done anything. A nice dinner in the back of Nick's truck, under the stars and away from the city. It wasn't romantic or fancy, but it was satisfying and so very fitting. Veal, onion rings, hot wings, and ice-cold Coke. They had laughed and talked about everything and nothing, from their college experiences to their favorite colors and birds.

Later, they had somewhere made it back to Nick's flat. Clinging and kissing, the had left a trail of clothes all the way to the bedroom. They had fallen into bed by accident, but that didn't dull their passion. Only minutes after tumbling into the sheets, they were shoving them aside to go at it hot and hard (it had surprised Archie to find Nick wanted to bottom for him.) Their first encounter had been over fairly quickly, it had been too long since either had gotten any.

Sticky and giggling like loons, they had stumbled into the shower that was more teasing than efficient. Riled up, their second time on the bed (damp and smelling faintly of coconut body wash) had been slower and more memorable with Nick topping this time.

Sated, they had fallen asleep.

It was around noon when Archie finally awoke, finding himself half-under Nick and being cuddled. He didn't mind it a bit, just settled further under the covers and sighed contently. The Southerner stirred at this, bussing his lips faintly along the love bite on the lab tech's neck. Just as he was ready to fall asleep, Archie's ears caught something that slipped from his lover's generous mouth.

Nick's drawl was thick, "Mmmm…love ya, Arch…"

Archie melted into the covers, blinking back girlish tears and scolding himself.

"Love you too, Nicky" Archie replied softly, dropping a kiss on the man's forehead.

There it was. The words they dare not speak were said, out in the open, more or less. Maybe Archie would confront Nick on it over coffee, maybe he would inquire softly where they stood, maybe he would even get a little emotional and hold Nick by his ear and make him say the words again.

The Southerner mumbled something about glass coffins, and the other smiled.

Or maybe he would wake Nicky up with a smile and a blowjob.

END

["Caaramelldansen (Speedy Cake Remix)" by DJ Bouche and Cristina Vee plays in background]

Love it or leave it?

3 Emono